You may have heard this logic applied to money: if you lose money it will come back – though it may come from an unexpected source. Well, recently I found that the same is true with forgiveness. We all know I’m doing a 30 day prayer for my ex boyfriend – someone with whom I had an extremely difficult relationship. The results of the prayer marathon have been mixed – some days I feel extreme sadness, some days I am happy for the experience of knowing him. Either way, the results of my forgiveness prayers are hard to measure because I don’t speak to this man anymore, and (despite all of the forgiveness work) I probably never will again.
That said, I received a really random text from a guy I briefly dated after my breakup with my ex. One might call him Rebound, if one likes that type of language. In any case, it didn’t really end on the best terms, and I think I’ve been carrying some embarrassment and resentment around the whole ordeal.
Anyway, Rebound essentially took ownership over his bad behavior and texted the words, “you deserve an apology.” I’ll spare you all the details, but he was right – I did deserve one. Though I hadn’t expected to ever receive one from him, his words were actually quite comforting. More than that, the phrasing — you deserve an apology — felt like he was speaking generally. I felt like he was speaking beyond his own behavior. I felt like he was giving me something that the universe wanted me to have.
Sometimes, we carry the burdens of others. People behave badly – treat us poorly – yet we suspect that we could’ve moved differently, loved harder, or been kinder. Sometimes we have to just accept that people can’t treat us any better than they have. Sometimes people don’t have the capacity to be anything other than who they are – they are battling their own demons, nursing their own scars, dealing with their own baggage.
I think part of my forgiveness prayer work with my ex must also include the knowledge that I couldn’t have done anything differently. Part of my letting go must revolve around knowing that I truly deserve an apology. Let me be clear, I don’t expect one, but I need to walk away with the knowing that I deserved one. I deserve a lot of things he wasn’t able to give me. And that’s okay. My favorite Oprah quote is that “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”
I think it’s time to sit with the fact that, along with the sun, the moon and all the stars in the sky…I deserve an apology…which really means it’s time to free myself from the hope that I could’ve been anyone other than who I was. I am enough, and I deserve an apology.