Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.
- Anne Lamott
A friend of mine recently posted this on her Facebook status. Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors and coming to grips with my own past one of my greatest challenges. So this really touched me.
Forgiveness is both about me and others. I have to forgive myself and those who wrong me. As Anne Lamott points out so well, it’s about coming to terms with my unchangeable past, both my actions and the actions of others.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time coming to terms with my actions. With letting go of the guilt and not living in regret. I did much wrong, and yet that past is filled with blessings that came out of the wrong I did. I still struggle with regret, with opportunities missed or squandered. But I can forgive myself.
I can usually forgive others. And sometimes easily, or relatively easily. Even for some pretty bad things. My problem is that I can’t forget. Being reminded just brings the hurt or anger back, and I have to go through forgiving again. Over time, it becomes easier and eventually the pain fades.
But some things don’t work like that. They always hurt, and they always will. My struggle is how to move forward, knowing that those memories will always be there and will always be painful, but knowing that I cannot change the past and that the past is not my present nor my future. It’s a challenge to not allow those feelings to continue to affect my relationships. To remind myself of forgiveness, despite the memory. It is so hard to let go of some things which hurt us, even though by doing so we only hurt ourselves over and over.
I don’t really know what to do about it. I think it’s normal. And we find ways to deal with it or we let it continue to screw up our lives. I just sometimes wish there were a way to truly forget. Forgiveness is having to remember, but let it go. To really know that the past is the past.