One of the many things that has happened since my last post in November is the forgiveness I found for my father. I believe entirely that I was in the process for many months, however it did not become clear until several weeks before Christmas this was to be the path I chose.
My understanding of forgiveness was limited. I never fully understood who benefited from the act, but always felt the person doing the forgiving was surely getting the short end of the straw. I could not have been more wrong.
Of all the people in my life who could have provided insight into forgiving my father, it turned out that his second ex-wife was the one with the most firsthand knowledge of both the process of forgiveness and the questionable behavior often exhibited by my father.
Alicia and my Dad were married around the time I was about 11 or 12 years old. I never actually lived with her and my Dad, but came to accept and love her as a step-mother. Our relationship has grown stronger over the years as has the amount of respect I have for her. So when I sought her out for advice about my Dad, I took what she offered very seriously and began to consider the path of forgiveness.
She was able to offer greater insight into the process and also recommended a website with more information. I slowly began to realize the pain and anger I was carrying was doing nothing. I was unable to get what I thought I wanted: remorse from my father and his acknowledgment of [many] mistakes made. I was fighting an uphill battle. And bringing only pain to my life and into the lives of those around me.
I accepted that my father is who he is. And simply put, he has made choices in his life I believe to be wrong. But I will not allow this to prevent me from having him in my life. I’ve established some boundaries and feel confident that in maintaining said boundaries, I will be able to have a healthy relationship with my father.
I used to scoff at that old saying, “Let’s agree to disagree.” But now I accept that sometimes this is the only way to coexist with certain people in our lives.
This forgiveness thing is good. I feel like I’ve been given a gift. And it’s a gift that I’ll be able to unwrap and share over and over again. Because let’s face it, nobody’s perfect. And from time to time we all need a little forgiveness.