The Feeling of Forgiveness

We worked on our therapy sessions and worked on our relationship. But none of it was really wasn’t working for me.

Too many times, in between the counseling sessions, I would find myself sitting on the sofa and the tears would just begin rolling down my cheeks. I felt so broken and unworthy. I sat there in bewilderment wondering how two of the most important people in my life be so devious behind my back. The betrayal ran so deep that sometimes, it literally took my breath away.

During that time I tried to stay very far away from my sister. My first interaction was about 2 months after the dust settled and my husband came back home. We were at a gym and we started to bicker about something petty and stupid. I took a step toward her and I remember how I just wanted to shove her so hard that she would fall into the pool. It took all of my might to refrain from touching her.

I vowed that evening that I would stay very far from her. I could not handle my grief and anger at the same time. I was too damaged and weak to spread myself. I knew that I needed to focus on healing myself first. I needed to gather my strength before I could face her and deal with all of her drama.

As it was, my life was spiraling into too many directions at once. It was now January and my children were beginning their academic careers back in September and as a first time mom, it was an overwhelming experience. Professionally, I was wooed into a new career, which meant returning to full-time office hours that January, and I would be turning 40 in a few months…and my life was crumbling.

I had too much to focus on. I had to take each day and focus on it on an hourly basis. Once I was back at work, I was actually happy to be back in the 9-5 grind. I was focused on a new career path and that left me little time to feel sorry for myself. I saved that task for the wee hours of the night/morning or during my commute in to and out of the city.

I began interrupting my tear filled commute with audio books I had borrowed from the library. Initially, I started with the best sellers I that had been wanting to read, but never had the time for. My first two listens were Dear John, by Nicholas Sparks and The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown. I dabbled with more Sparks and moved on to Koontz, and then whatever else was available from the conservative inventory at my library.

A friend had suggested, The Shack by William P. Young. This audio book started me on a quest for inner peace. I know, it sounds so cliché, but it really was a turning point for me. For me, The Shack opened a crack in my heart to consider forgiveness. I needed to define forgiveness and see how it fit into my situation.

From The Shack, I began searching for more audio books on forgiveness and spirituality. None of it made me feel any better at that time. But I started downloading apps onto my phone about mediation and relaxation and anti-anxiety techniques.

The more I downloaded and listened, the more anxious I was becoming. I noticed that I was more short-tempered and angrier at my situation than ever before. I was angry at him for doing this to me. I was angry with her for keeping it from me. I was angry with myself for not listening to my heart when I should have. I knew all along that something had happened between them. I knew it and did nothing about it.

After another long, sleepless night, I wandered into the backyard during the early pre-dawn hours. I watched the sunrise and the listened to the birds waking up. I felt anxious and knotted. Later in the day, I decided to take a long hot shower. Fresh from my shower I flung myself on my bed and closed my eyes. I wanted the anger and rage in my heart to be gone. I begged for peace. After several more tearful minutes, I closed my eyes and felt a calm come over me.

A great calm claimed me and I was able to breathe without the heaviness I was feeling in my chest. My muscles didn’t feel achy and knotted anymore. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I actually felt relaxed and I think I drifted to sleep. I felt a lightness that I hadn’t felt in a really long time. When I arose, I felt refreshed.

Later that night, as we lay in bed, I still felt light and refreshed. My husband reached over and kissed my forehead and whispered that he loved me. I heard myself say, “I forgive you.” He couldn’t believe his ears. He had tears in his eyes, hugged me and whispered an emotional “Thank You”. I felt a huge weight lifted from my chest. I felt myself breathe again. As I drifted to sleep, I remember thinking to myself that this is what true forgiveness feels like.