To forgive is not to excuse what the other person did. It’s to prevent their behavior from destroying your heart.
As I look around my office today, waiting for Inspiration to stir up within me and start me to typing… I notice how many “Mom” references I have hanging on the walls, perched on my desk and the table, and even hanging from the ceiling.
I ❤ MomAustin, green paint on blue wood
I love being a Mom. If we enter into skin to experience something, surely among my many dreams was motherhood. Nurturing, listening, cooking, doing laundry, cleaning… love it all… even giving birth was exciting… ah, the finding out I was pregnant, the increasing waist size, the preparing the room for baby, the being ready to be done already… loved it all…
MomAlisia, hand-scribbled picture of me (long hair past my toes)
Husband and I have been blessed with Five Beautiful Souls, ten years apart from first to fifth. Ah, I even loved breastfeeding! All that snuggling… “sorry, can’t do that; I’m nursing the baby.” Loved the bonding… and the connection that has lasted the test of time, including those oft vexing teenage years.
Mom, saved my going-out money for you.Andrew, hand-written note with $ folded, attached
I think that having my own children to mother – and all their friends – helped me work through the mother wound I experienced due to a lack of a relationship with my own mother. Through the messiness of life and divorce and her own woundedness, Mom didn’t hang out for too long. With few memories, I now try to recall just the ones that feel good to me. (I have processed most of those that hurt on the way in. It’s been a journey.)
Through much healing and prayer, research and quiet pondering, I have come to believe that people do the best they know how in that very moment. When they know better, they do better. I realize that this is not a popular opinion nor does this perspective make it okay that so many of us are aching, wounded, oozing, and – be still my heart – this damage occurred at the hands of those who were to protect us, provide for us, and nurture in Love.
Stuffed animals on the shelfFormer students
When this doesn’t happen, we are left to heal ourselves, nurture ourselves toward a space of Love, Peace, and Safety. We motherless or mother-wounded souls are left to mother ourselves. So often, we are well into our adult years before we realize the damage we’ve incurred and the damage we ourselves have inflicted, possibly on our own children. Unintentional, yes, but this is the cycle.
Hurt people hurt people. Hurt moms sometimes become moms who hurt their own children. And on and on it goes.
Therein lies the need for compassion. Let us hold ourselves accountable, yes, but also with kindness, gentleness, and patience. When we do so, I believe that at some point on the journey back to ourselves and a healed countenance… we will find ourselves with enlightened perspective towards those who hurt us, who caused us to crawl inside ourselves and self-protect, cease to trust too early, too long… and, miraculously, even willing to offer that same kindness, gentleness, and patience to them as we’ve allowed for ourselves.
If anything, forgiveness softens. Softens our own hardened, frightened hearts… brings understanding that relationships are messy, humans messed up, and this earthly existence is hard.
But it’s also temporary. Our time on the earth, in this skin and among these people, it’s temporary. It’s training ground. It’s experience, it’s knowing what love is and what love isn’t. It’s coming to understand that everyone screws up, even the most well-intentioned.
I remember well the day I told one of my FBS that he would be a loser if he kept up his work ethic. He was nine years old.
I was doing what I knew, acting how I was raised. It wasn’t until a little later that I woke up to knowing that my words were knives, cutting to the core of his heart. I was devastated by my behavior… and apologized deeply to him… tried to “make things better”, but not before he got hurt. This pained me, took my breath away once I realized what I had done!… but the possibility of Life between us was still there. I am humbled to report that he has forgiven me.
Mom, I already forgave you. Let it go now.Any one of my children, upon my asking for forgiveness for one thing or another over the years
We can choose to remain bitter, folded over, and weary. Or we can breathe into the memories, cry-scream-move them through our bodies, and accept Peace to reside within us.
Healing does not mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.
And, for me, the magical thing about this Peace is that, marinating in it for long enough, I soften all the more… to a desire to forgive injuring parties. I see more clearly that shit happens, but we have a choice with what to do with that shit.
Kick it around and piss-n-moan… or search for the pony.
To Mom from your favorite SonAlex, in a card
I think maintaining a sense of humor has, in some way, helped. Maybe the laughter, which is super high vibe, has allowed me times of Soaring Above It All, of seeing the Bigger Picture. The Indigo Girls croon, “it’s only life, afterall” and maybe there’s some speck of truth in this. We demand to be treated well and perfectly and yet this world is aching and people are fucked up. Hurt people hurt people.
I love you Mom. There is no way I can not love you. I want to stay with you forever.Alisia, on a postcard, decorated with three butterflies
Mom passed years ago and we never got a chance to explore a relationship. Maybe it would have been strained, maybe it would have been amazing. I’ll never know. I like to think that maybe we would have been friends. Why not think of the possibilities of Good? Of healing? Of reconnecting and laughter? I am at peace and I hope she is too, wherever she hangs her bonnet now.
Morning, Mom. I’m going to try to swing by later today.Adam, in a text message just now
Yes, life has been complicated and shitty and unfair and hilarious and scary and amazing and full… full of Five Beautiful Souls helping me heal and know Love and be loved and remember – in and amongst all those ponies – that there is still the possibility of Love in the world.
I’m not sure I have earned being loved so deeply by my children. I can tell you that I tried my hardest most days, and did the best I knew how in that very moment. And every day, I continue to feel more whole and healed and loving.
As soon as the healing occurs, go out and heal someone else.Maya Angelou
Being on the receiving end of such Grace has been healing… and so… how can I withhold such Grace from another? And, when I vibe at Grace’s frequency, I know that I am more and more healed… and that Life is unfair and hurts but it’s also really, really good too.
And, I dunno, maybe this is the point of all of it somehow… ❤