It’s almost Christmas again. The startlingly fast passage of time reminded me of how long ago we have not talked. There remains a wide space of punctuated silences in my memories of you. Those silences only make it possible to highlight the moments of conversations we shared: the conversations of words and the conversations of company.
I forgive you. I forgive your silence and the power it had over me. For someone who has been comfortable with words, I never realized how their absence can reveal my insecurities and prompted me to spend hours filling the missing parts of your speech. You never explained, at least not the way I thought you should have, and that made me compose the explanation for you just to assure myself that you did become part of my life, and not just some well- developed character in my head.
I forgive you. I forgive you for leading me on to believe the best of myself ,and then, destroying that belief with a lie. With lies. With empty words that I filled with rainbows and fluff and gold dust so that I could pretend they were worth something.
I always prided myself in being independent. I thought I could take care of myself, and taking care of myself properly meant I was able to make the right decisions and to choose the correct choices. Allowing you in my life shattered that pride. You were a wrong choice. You were a wrong decision. I chose you, but you did not choose me. I was all guards up, closed fences, until you. I let in someone this one time, and I let in the wrong stranger. I had my worth anchored in the confidence I had of being the “intelligent one”, that was one quality I was sure of about myself. I did not care if the rest of the population were beautiful or likeable. At least, I was smart. I was so convinced of that fact that when you demonstrated how wrong I was, it left me unable to believe in anything else about myself. If that one basic truth I clung to was actually false, what other false truths about my life do I have to uncover?
I forgive you. I forgive you for making it difficult for me to forgive myself. A long time has passed, and yet, this rift between us still weighs me down. Every rememory of you comes with a fresh wave of anger, of shame, of confusion and uncertainty: about life, about people, about myself. It was only recently that I realized that the burden stems from the reality that I have not actually forgiven myself for being wrong. I cannot forgive myself for the failure to protect me from the hurt and the heartbreak. I have to struggle with myself to stop rebuilding the fences, to banish the line of guards and defenses in my heart.
I forgive you for the days when I would forget about the pain you caused me, but would still remember how I am capable of inflicting pain to myself.
The truth is, I have forgiven you. More times than I can remember. I forgave you that day I knew about the truth. I forgave you months after that, when people still asked me what happened to us. I forgave you during a bus ride, when I remembered again the stupid mistakes I committed because of you. I forgave you every time the memories decided to parade in my mind.
I shared this story and my ongoing struggle of making peace with it to a friend. She appreciated me for telling her; she understood better the answer Jesus gave when a man asked Him the number of times he has to forgive a person who has wronged him. I do, too. Now.
I forgive you. I forgive you because you taught me to forgive the way Jesus did. Not just seven times, but seventy time seven. A per person count. Though I may not have hit the 490th count yet, I’m sure I’ve had some progress with you.
I forgive you because I need to. If I can forgive you, I can forgive myself. I can finally acknowledge that as much as I could have prevented the unnecessary complications and the bruising of my ego and esteem, you still chose to not choose me. You are responsible as much as I was, and you made that conscious decision to inflict pain on me. Once I accepted that truth, I can allow myself to offer you my forgiveness.
I forgive you because I was once forgiven too. The freedom of that forgiveness is one that I’d gladly share with anyone. Even to you.
(And now, your silence is no longer as deafening.)