I have a friend of many years. He has been tender to me and he has been tough. He has rescued me and wounded me. He has shared his gifts with me (his family, his children, his music) and he has treated me as if I was family. Until he doesn’t.
All of us have yearned for happiness and love and that sense of family. Of coming home, arriving tattered and torn and being invited in anyway. The sense of belonging, of family brings us happiness and then something shifts. A word not kept, a lie is told. Our belief that we mattered in the deepest sense is questioned. A tiny lock is waiting in the pocket of our hearts. Our ability to see that other person in the true light of day reveals pain. They don’t call, they don’t write, they come to a party once or twice a year. They know of your suffering and they appear indifferent. Indifference is the opposite of love. We think we have love by our definition (time) and they think they love you by their definition (lack of time but thought or prayer or monetary gifts) and when we have need (sickness, loss of work, a marriage ending) and we look around like a drowning man and there is no one to reach out their hand from the rescue boat, we take our padlock and we clamp it over our heart and we think “No more!” Our thinking becomes clouded by the pain of our aloneness and we withdraw like a sea creature into its protective shell. We become inward focused and our hearts grow shades of grey. Buried alive by our own thoughts we lose sight of everything that beckons with love.
Yet love is the truth in every part of us. The longing for love and the giving of love, the seeing love with its infinite compassion upon another. Even one who doesn’t appear to love us. That power, that love from God cannot fail. It’s very nature is forgiveness and grace. We can come back from any loss (real or perceived) with love as our guide and our nurturing sustenance. It’s shifting our thinking to see the other person from a God ordained place.
That love releases us to withstand anything that may come to us. Rejection, indifference, violence, betrayal, ego based decision-making,and selfish feelings.The fact that we can have our hearts broken is part of our common and shared humanity. It’s not indicative of weakness to acknowledge and release the pain. It’s actually a strength to look whatever is hurting you square in the face and say I forgive you.
It’s good to see what the pain will reveal in ourselves, it’s a call to grow from the suffering, or the loss or the rejection. By searching for the lesson of love we become closer to God in our hearts. The passing of love becomes the grace of God within our tattered souls.
So back to my friend who called late one night with the sound of remorse and a few too many beers. I heard his message and for a brief moment thought of calling him back but then I realized that I didn’t know what to say until right now. What I want to say is “I love you” no matter how you run inside yourself in fear of loss or pain “I forgive you.” I forgive you the notion that I wouldn’t have to go through deep waters alone, that you would care enough to show up. I forgive you that I won’t hear from you or see you(sometimes for years) and when I do there are arms around my heart and words of family ties that bind me to an expectation.
I release you to be exactly who you are and I love you. I ask your forgiveness for putting you in a place of expectation and judgment of a definition of family and for holding you hostage to the meaning. Your not the only one to recieve this letter of rambling thoughts. There are others too, for whom I forgive and I seek light. I seek love and compassion of forgiveness and grace and mercy and thankfulness. I can look at what has been lost or I can offer what still remains.
I offer always what remains in me. You are always welcome.The door to my life is always open.