I should say this before I get into the meat of what I want to talk about...Brittaney and I are still together and still engaged. The last few weeks have been less than ideal relationship-wise ("emotionally bipolar" might be an apt description), but I hope and have confidence that we can work through it.
Brittaney, if you're reading this, don't worry. I only mention you directly three more times in this post (and everything else is indirect "us" references) and none of those mentions are negative. This is not an attack post. I love you.
What I'm interested in talking about today is forgiveness.
Like I said, the last two months have been tumultuous. Brittaney and I have managed to hurt each other, intentionally and unintentionally, several times and right now we're barely speaking to each other. This "silence" is due to these hurts as well as the unfortunate passing of her great-grandmother (please send some thoughts and prayers to her and her family in this time of grief...they can use all the support that they can get) and the grief she is dealing with on-top of everyday life.
I'm not going to describe the hurts nor the excuses made on both of our parts for perpetrating them...that would do absolutely no good for anyone. Ultimately, what was done pales in comparison to the emotional damage caused and is therefor unimportant. As for the excuses, let's face it, an excuse over time has the same quality as strongly-flavored cheese left on the counter...it's starts out tasty, but eventually it begins to stink, become stale, and grow moldy.
I think it's safe to say that Brittaney and I don't have a lot of trust left in each other. We're both guilty, in greater and lesser degrees, of betraying each other's trust in one another...and what little is left is complicated by what feels like a million outside forces beyond either of our sphere's of control meddling (or outright forcing) themselves into what is already a big emotional mess. This time, it was mostly me who royally fucked up. Like I said, descriptions and excuses are unimportant right now, but the pain I caused was severe.
Can it be fixed? I damn sure hope so! As with most things, only time will tell...I'll keep trying and fighting for her.
Thinking about all of this has gotten me thinking about forgiveness.
Most people, at least those who know me well, know that I'm not a religious person. It's just not my bag, if you will. My Facebook "About" section says that I'm a "Consciencous Objector" when it comes to religion, and it's a pretty good description, but my background is ultimately Christian (raised Catholic, attended a Baptist university, etc.) and so when it comes to the big philosophical questions I end up falling back on that.
While I may not agree with the various interpretations (and politics) of the Bible, I definitely can't fault the wisdom that can be found there. While there are some rather dour passages concerning forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15 comes to mind...basically it says if you can't forgive those that hurt you, God won't forgive you), there are some truly inspirational passages as well...like this one...
Isaiah 1:18Sweet! And very poetic...
"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
Anyway, what the Bible says on forgiveness isn't as important as the fact that I was raised and educated as a Christian and that forgiveness is something that comes relatively easy to me. It's how I was taught to deal with those who have wronged me. Jesus said to turn the other cheek, I say "Yes, sir!" Jesus said to love your neighbor as you love yourself, and I say, "Yes, sir!"
I'd like to think that I've forgiven most if not all of the people who have hurt me in the past. By no means does this qualify me for sainthood or anything because, God knows, I'm just as able to hold a grudge and be as spiteful as the most heinous sinner, but I just can't see myself holding on to all the pain caused to me by others. Be pissy about it for a while and then, let it go and move on. If it's someone I care about and still want to be a big part of my life, it may take a little longer, but in the end the slate gets wiped clean and everything's good between us...at least for my part.
I don't understand people who cling to their pain and never try to let it go. I've met several of them over the years and I just don't get it. I can't even fathom the reasons why one would do that because every time I've ever tried to hold a grudge and not work through my feelings to the point where I can forgive the begrudged, I end up making myself more miserable than I was when the initial grudge-inducing pain occurred. No, I don't even hold grudges against my ex-wives...and they probably deserve it.
To be fair, there was a period about eight years ago, right after my first divorce, when I held on to a lot of pain. In the end, thanks to some good counseling, the best friends a person can have, and a supportive family, I not only let go of the pain, I gained the tools to work through those feelings and arrive at forgiveness.
Back to the now...
Brittaney, I know that I have wronged you. You have every right to be angry at me, but I beg you to not let go of all of the good things we've had between us...the love and the fun...the support and the laughter...and hold a grudge against me. While my excuse for doing so was tasty at the time, it's now stinky and moldy...because it wasn't worth the pain it's caused you. I'm not a perfect person. Sometimes I mess up...sometimes I royally fuck up...but I always try to learn from my mistakes, big and small, and try not to do those things again.
My pretty girl, I love you. I love you more, truly, than I have loved any other woman I've ever been with and have ever met. I loved you from our first kiss and have loved you more every minute since...even in our angry moments.
I am so very very sorry for hurting you. And I ask you, now, before God and the small percentage of the internet who will actually read this, to please forgive me as I have forgiven you of the things you've done to hurt me.
I swear, also before God and everyone else who reads this, that I will continue to become a better man...for myself, yes, but especially for you. I will make this right again...I will do everything I can to make us right again.
I love you, my heart, and I can't wait for the day when we are physically are part of each other's daily lives.