Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Parents & Forgiveness

I just got a call from one of my sisters. She says to me, expecting gratitude, "I talked Clyde out of calling you last night".
Two things you should know. Clyde is my biological dad and "last night" was my birthday.

So I'm annoyed. Why am I annoyed (besides the obvious overstepping of bounds by the sister)? He calls me once a year and if at all possible, I avoid talking to him. He's caught me off guard a few times, those times I forget to be on my toes and I answer that phone. So why does it bother me?

I've wondered a lot recently, what does it take to forgive our parents? I have all these mixed up feelings about Clyde and I mostly wad them up and throw them in the corner, stack magazines and dirty clothes on top of them. I don't want to deal, yet it comes up a lot and my weird reaction sort of fascinates me as if I am only an observer of those feelings. It is really bizarre how when he does get me on the line, we have absolutely nothing to say. Sometimes I will fill in the void with weather talk and other times I will observe from afar and see how long the uncomfortable silence can last.

I know a grown man who has recently gotten to know his dad. The forgiveness has amazed me. He really has every right to be angry with his dad for many reasons I will not list here. But I watch in fascination and trepidation because I cannot imagine he does not still harbor some bad feelings. I have so many questions for him. Did you bury those angry feelings, or have you really reconciled them? Have you truly forgiven him, and if so, how did you do it?

1 comment:

MMaxwell said...

I have found forgiveness is desired but you can't plan the way to it. You just put one foot in front of another and one day you look up and you realize you are there. You don't know how you got there exactly, you just know. For me forgiveness came after I let the whole thing blow, fall, crash and end. Then I went forward living my life and in that process, it seemed my life made room for that person at the table again. I think you have to "Let go" and then hope life brings it round again anew and you then rebuild something new. It would be crazy to hold on to the old way, that didn't work then and it will not work in the future. Not everything should be forgiven, not everything could be forgiven. Give yourself permission to not forgive. Then let it be. Then later maybe you will decide on forgiveness. Forgiveness can't happen while the hurt and anger are still present. It comes back to a line in a song I remember well...sometimes to hold it together, you have to leave it alone. So I guess my best advice is to forgive yourself first, for not being ready to forgive. Then let it be.