I choose to…

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There is no peace without forgiveness.  – Marianne Williamson

 

“But how? How can you just get over these things, darling?…You’ve had so much strife but you’re always happy. How do you do it?’

‘I choose to…

‘I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened, like my father did, or I can forgive and forget.’

‘But it’s not that easy.’

He smiled that Frank smile. ‘Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things…I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. 

‘No’ – his voice became sober.

‘We always have a choice. All of us.”

M. L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans

 

There are many experiences in life that require us to forgive and although it’s often for ourselves, either way, it’s always a conscious choice.

When I forgave the driver that hit and killed my son, I surprised myself, but not in a way you might expect.  You see, I thought I could never do it. I thought that my anger, my outrage and the injustice of her actions, was a rite of passage for a grieving mother.  That nothing would move me from sitting in judgement of her and the life sentence she gave me.

But one day out of the blue, only about a year or so after our son died, I woke up and decided to forgive her.  Intellectually I knew it was the right action to take, and had read it would help me heal, but it wasn’t until I put pen to paper and started writing to her in forgiveness, that I realized the immense release and freedom it would give me.

To carry the story of our burdens, resentment or anger, is exhausting, and over time it becomes a heavy load to bear

We only have to choose once, we only have to forgive once.

40 thoughts on “I choose to…

    1. Yes so true Kristine and perhaps its the decision to do it that is the hardest, and that’s where many may get stuck, but after that it feels so right you can’t go back. I like that word ‘human-ing’ too👏💚💕

  1. I have forgiven much in my life, but there is one thing I have found I cannot forgive. Maybe one day, but I doubt it.
    It was a very evil, intentional, and abusive act toward me, and the person who did it refused to admit it, refused to deal with it, etc. Not a shred of concern. He spent some time in prison all the while saying I was a liar.
    No, I shall not forgive him. I WOULD if he would admit, come to see his horrid behavior as wrong, and apologize. But without that, no. I cannot.
    But I don’t live with it, don’t dwell on it, and rarely even think about it. I can recall it with no emotion even though it left me with permanent physical damage. I’ve learned to live with it. Occasionally when it interferes with my life I get frustrated, but I do accept that this is now who I am.

    1. I can imagine how your experience of this awful act and the outcome of this situation without admission or guilt, would leave your feeling this way Emilie, and I would say over the years to survive, you have learned to lock this pain away and accept it as normal.

      Can I suggest you do a small ritual? Sit quietly somewhere and take 3 deep breaths in and out, let your body relax and repeat the breaths again. Then ask yourself. “Where in my body am I carrying this anger, this pain, this burden? Keep breathing until you find it. Acknowledge it is within you, feel the heaviness of this pain. Then ask. “Is he being punished or persecuted by you holding this for him? Does holding on to this burden hurt him or hurt you? Answer honestly.

      Give yourself permission to release this. Its not for him, and never will be, its for you, and know deeply you are worthy of this freedom now and always. Much love Emilie.

  2. What an awesome read, Karen. I can understand a mother’s loss but what you did was a gorgeous and beautiful act of forgiveness and once you forgive the burden drops. People come into our lives for a purpose and they go when their time is over and no one know how one has to depart too.

  3. We all have moments or times in our lives when we are faced with having to forgive someone over being angry at the injustices caused us. The choice is ours, and forgiving means you can move on and move beyond the past … great post.

    Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning. ~ Desmond Tutu

  4. This is such a wise post, Karen. I am in awe of your capacity to move beyond your grief and forgive. Yet I can also imagine how freeing it must have been. When I’m nursing an injustice that I know I need to let go, I recite that old expression, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” It’s such a vivid illustration for me…..

    1. Yes and the illusion that we are hurting others keeps us there, keep us convinced that’s why we need to hold onto this pain. It’s a good quote to remember Lori. So true. ✨💕💚

  5. Karen, yes forgiveness is key and paramount for you to move forward. That however, does not discount the pain of your loss in any way. You have lightened that load by forgiving this woman and I honestly applaud you. Can you imagine how this woman must live the rest of her life knowing she took a life? How tragic all the way around for ALL involved. BIG (((HUGS)))!

    1. Yes it took me a long time to understand her pain Amy, and I have heard she did suffer terribly. She never responded to my letter or apologised, and so it was difficult at times to accept. However, my forgiveness really gave me peace and I definitely wish her the same. Thank you Amy 💕✨

  6. Beautiful Karen!
    A most difficult circumstance. But, when we avoid forgiving, it is not the unforgiven who suffers alone. The unforgiving, as you most appropriately say, carries an ever increasing burden. Then even those whom you love will suffer too, in not having the complete you. Those who harbor hate cannot love completely.
    Forgiveness is like pouring a glass of water into the ocean. That same glass of water cannot be retrieved. So too when we give our forgiveness to another. Let it be done. For the good of all.
    -Alan

  7. Karen, thank you for sharing your story of forgiveness. This sounds like a very challenging situation and you found a way forward through forgiveness. It is a gift to yourself and to the one who has made a mistake. Thanks for reminding me of the cost of holding on to anger.

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