I’m off to prison to work with the ladies…
Today? Another repost! LOL!
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-=[ Forgivness ]=-
“Forgiveness is another word for letting go.”
— Matthew Fox
Learning forgiveness — both granting it to others and accepting for ourselves — is one of the primary paths for growth. For many us, if we are honest enough with ourselves, taking a look at our history is to be plagued with deep-rooted feelings of guilt. We may develop insight, or we finally open to the possibility of being accountable for some of this history, which opens us to a new perspective on life. As human beings, we may also yearn to undo our mistakes. However, many of us carry guilt for years as if we deserved to continue to be punished.
True growth means letting go.
It is not until we learn forgiveness that we can stop the patterns that have been handed down from generation to generation. I’ll give you an example from my own personal history. I was blessed with two beautiful, intelligent, caring, and courageous parents. The fact that I’m living the way I am today is a testament to their legacy of courage and determination against sometimes great odds. I am totally grateful for what they have given me. I honestly believe that if I were to carry my mother on my back for the rest of her life, I still would not be able to repay what she has given me.
However, both my parents were abused and neglected as children. My father was orphaned by the age of seven, having lost his parents to disease and was subsequently raised by an older sister who was barely older than him. My mother was sexually and physically abused by her older brothers as a child and was a battered wife for 13 years at the hands of my father.
My earliest memories are of my mother using me as a shield to stop my father from beating her.
It took me a long time to begin to understand all of this. I loved my parents dearly, as I know they loved me, but there was a lot of abuse and feelings of horror and abandonment in my childhood. I simultaneously adored — worshipped — and hated and feared my father, who could be both loving and angry to the extreme. My mother, also a sweet and loving person, was quick with her hands, often smacking me in the face, eliciting within me feelings of hatred, which I then felt guilty for harboring. To this day, I still sometimes get uncomfortable when a lover reaches to caress my face.
People today are always amazed at my ability to size people up. I’m often right on point with my ability to analyze people, even if I choose to look at the better side of human nature. I’m no fool — don’t let the suit, tie, and smile fool you. LOL The fact is that I learned how to read people as a child. I had to for my own survival because I had to know if the most important person in my life was going to hug or hit me. So I learned to read the body, listen for tones in the voice, check the eyes. I had to become good at this.
Growing up and listening to my mother’s screams I would promise myself that I would never re-enact these abuses on others. At those times, I hated my parents and felt guilt about that hate because they were my parents and I was taught that it was wrong for me to feel what I felt.
Years passed and I found myself (funny way of putting it, huh? LOL) being the primary caregiver to my own son seven years of age. Imagine having me as a father!
Anyway, my son and I had a great relationship. I can be very entertaining, to say the least. *wink* My son adored me and I tried to be honest and loving toward my son. Most of all, I was determined not to replay the same patterns in my relationship with him.
One day, he came home with a report card that wasn’t what I felt reflective of his abilities. My son was an intellectually gifted child but, as with many brilliant children, he lived in his own world, the “real” world sometimes being very boring. Anyway, it was one of those days — I was feeling a little drained and overwhelmed and I became very frustrated because here I am, I thought to myself, busting my butt to stress the importance of education to this kid and he’s just not getting it!
So the more I’m talking to him the angrier I get, and the angrier I get the more boundaries I trespass: by now, I’m cursing at him and screaming and talking to him in a way I never did before. Heck, in my mind, I want to take him over my knee and spank the shit out of the little ma’fucca.
All the while, there’s a part of me that’s “watching” all of this, but I’m in “fight or flight” mode, and I can’t stop myself. By now, my son is crying and the more he cries the more frustrated I become and somewhere I know I’m losing control, that I’m going somewhere deep and dark and my son is terrified…
BUT ALL I WANT IS TO JUST KICK THIS KID’S BUTT!!
Just then, my son — voice quavering and his body trembling — my son pleads to me, “But Pops I don’t understand, what do you want me to do? Please, tell me… ”
And at that moment, everything stops and my heart just melts right then and there because I look at my son’s face and see the tears and those beautiful blue eyes and at that moment I’m overwhelmed with love for my son. It is at that precise moment that I saw reflected in my son’s eyes, my own inner child and was vividly reminded of the horrors and trauma of my own childhood. It was as if his plea awakened me from an unconscious or deep-rooted rage and I became terrified myself.
I awaken from my rage at that moment and all the fears, all the rage dissipates. I take my son in my arms and hold him tight, repeating over and over, “I’m so sorry… “
This is how patterns are repeated. I realized right then and there that I had to find resolution with my own demons because if I didn’t, it would get passed down to my son and those that I love the most. Before I could be the father I wanted to be, I had to forgive my own parents, and let that rage go because that abuse was so powerful a force that it threatened everything that was important in my life.
I had to let go…
Fortunately, I was able to do that. I was also able to speak to my son about my own fears and how sometimes when he didn’t do well in school, my fear was that he would that he would eventually suffer as I did. It was an irrational fear, but that’s where my head went in those moments when I became most angry or fearful.
Eventually, I learned that my anger stemmed from a deep-rooted fear – probably the fear I experienced as a child in an abusive home.
Did I become the “model” father after that day? Aww heck no! This is Eddie we’re talking about here, folks! LOL But that day I began to truly understand the importance of forgiveness and letting go because letting go is not just something you do, it’s something you become.
Forgiveness is not saying that what you or someone else did is ok. Rather, forgiveness is a state of being in which you allow yourself to get rid of the fear and rage through a long and slow, but necessary process. Some would call it a state of grace… The price you pay for not letting go is pain, not just for yourself, but for those closest to you.
Maybe today we can begin to entertain the possibility of being forgiven and letting go of past mistakes.