I’ve been thinking a lot…and I do mean a lot…about the mistakes we make and our ability to forgive the hurts those mistakes cause.
In all honesty I don’t know where to start. So I’m going to dive in and see where it takes us.
We all make mistakes. It’s part of the human condition and experience, right? Every single one of us has made them. Some of those mistakes are tiny. We screw up and then we say sorry and move on. Others are a little bit bigger and we have to atone in some way. Pay the price. Others are so big there’s just no way we can make up for it. No words that we can say that will ease the hurt we’ve caused or that we feel. Sometimes all we can do is hold up our hands and say ‘yeah, I made that mistake. I did it and I wish to God I could undo it, take it back, turn back time or whatever, but I can’t. Can you forgive me, or not’ and then we wait.
And the waiting causes its own ache, doesn’t it? That feeling where you’re on the edge of a cliff, your arms pinwheeling so you don’t fall, and time seems to slow to a crawl. That waiting to find out if that one mistake you made is the one that will change the life you’ve built irrevocably.
So we wait.
For the sword to fall.
But forgiveness is a hard thing for some people to give. Withholding it can protect us from more pain, while we unintentionally cause a whole other set of wounds to form in our wake. Forgiveness. Its a beautiful word. For a beautiful concept. But forgiveness can’t happen without trust. And trust is such a fickle and fragile thing. I kind of think of it like an egg…the old Humptey Dumptey thing…Is trust just the same? Or is it more like a car engine? Fixable if you can find the right parts, tighten the nuts and bolts just right, or even find the right kind of fuel.
A few years ago I made a mistake. A huge one. One of those where you wait to see if forgiveness can happen. And for years I waited…wishing for it…hoping for it…feeling that every moment it was witheld was deserved. I bore every jibe, because I deserved them. I shouldered every rebuke, because the mistake was mine.
But every little hurt cut. Whether I deserved it or not, they cut…and they cut deeper every time.
Until it cuts so deep that you have to cauterize the wound or bleed to death.
So you do. And slowly you stop feeling anything. Bit by bit you turn off every emotion until there’s nothing left that can hurt.
But if there’s nothing left than can hurt…what is there at all?
Is there an ‘on’ switch to just turn it all back on? If there is, I haven’t found it.