It is said that, no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and we must forgive them for that.
Oh yes, I understand this on the most basic of levels and depending on the level of the hurt that is caused the forgiveness is easy. Well for me it is.
My problem and this is something that I obviously have to work on until I get it right, or as right as I will ever get it, is the management of the memory of that hurt.
I am not talking about the minor cuts and bruises that we get from any relationship and probably mostly a friendship, I am talking about the major league stuff.
It’s the hurts that are ‘deal breakers’ or the hurts that cause physical pain to the soul, that I am talking about. It’s the hurt that changes, on a fundamental level, how you look at that person that you have called friend, and you make a decision about whether you still want that person in your life or not.
Forgiving someone for something is not an issue at all with me. I guess because of the pain that I went through as a child when my parents were murdered. I understand and have done so for a very long time, that in order for me to grow as a person I need to let go of the many issues that I have in life, and then move forward. I have understood that I had to forgive in order for me to heal and for me to move on. Harboring that intense kind of unforgiveness in my heart and in my soul becomes destructive to my own life. I got that and I forgave!
My problem is the memory of that pain. Let me try and explain it another way. There is a saying that goes something like “Forgive and forget”. I think that means that when we forgive we should also forget the transgression. Therein lies my difficulty. Forgiving is not the problem, forgetting is the challenge.
Let’s take for example a couple – one of them is unfaithful to the other. The hurt party may forgive and even try to forget and not bring it up again. However should the transgressor come home late, or plead extra time at work, or go out with the boys/girls or spend any time away from home, sans partner – the hurt party will always be wandering what the deal is, because somewhere in the back of their minds is the fact that they were hurt once before, by this person.
Well that is the way it is with me, with friends. You see they are the very people with whom I have been the most vulnerable. It is my friends who I have shared my biggest secrets with. My fears, my weaknesses, my hopes, my dreams, my expectations. It is my friends who I have bared my very soul to and when they do something, especially deliberately, to hurt me – how do I forget that?
When I am hurt in such a manner, by someone I call friend – I usually forgive and then walk away from the friendship or the relationship, so as not to let that person have another opportunity to hurt me. I wish them no ill – in fact I wish them the very best of luck and happiness in the future as long as they have that future as far away from me as possible!
Is this the right way to handle this – quite honestly, I don’t know. What I do know however is that there are many people who travel with us on this journey that we call life. Some will be with us from beginning to end, some will only travel a part of the way with us, many will never even meet us.
For me, the trick is to understand who is a ‘lifer’ and who is there but for a fleeting moment. Once I have established that, I need to ‘let go’ to walk away in the understanding that my journey with that particular person has come to an end, for whatever reason.
When I walk away, I need to do that with peace in my heart and a smile on my face. I need to celebrate the good times and learn from the bad and then discard them – there is no place for painful memories in my heart and in my soul.