Reflections On Forgiveness
Posted: Jul 12 2017
Last week, I was doing my usual cleaning day rounds. As I finished up, I took a quick peek at my phone and noticed I had a missed call.
It wasn’t a saved number in my phone, but as I took a second look, my stomach dropped. The number was my dad’s - he’s had the same one for years. My feelings of dread bubbled up because I don’t speak with my dad, and there was a voicemail left on my phone. The only thing I could think was that something horrible must have happened. As I played back the message, I quickly realized it had been a pocket dial. Phew, disaster averted.
I realize it may seem bizarre, the nonchalance with which I state I don’t speak with him. It’s been six years since he walked out the door of our family home, backpack slung across his shoulder. In the time since so much has changed. Based on my experiences with him as a person, I decided I wanted no contact. His actions were loathsome, our family had been deeply hurt, and I couldn’t trust him. Coming to this realization after so many years of being joined at the hip was devastating. Lately though, I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness. What does it mean in this situation?
Is it possible to forgive someone, yet still want nothing to do with them?
For a long time, I was angry. I don’t feel that anger anymore, I found the capability to let go. But I know for certain that I don’t care to have a friendly relationship at this point. Looking back, I’m sure there were many times he was a good father. And just like everyone else, he’s a human that makes mistakes. I understand this, and yet I can’t bring myself to think of him the way I did before; especially if there is no acknowledgment of wrongdoing on his part.
If I was on the outside, and this same situation had occurred with a friend, I know I wouldn’t be able to continue a friendship with that person. Is it any different, just because we’re related? Family matters tend to be so emotionally charged, there really is no true answer. Maybe one day I’ll feel ready to rebuild a relationship with him, or maybe I won’t. Either way, this will flow into my renewed journey to be thoughtful, and trust myself to do what feels right.