As I reflect back to a few years ago, I can see that it was a very difficult time for our family. A number of people who were very close to us were either ill or had passed away. It was the same year that we lost our son, Eric. Emotions were at their peak and our entire family, immediate and extended, was going through the stages of grief, all at the same time. It was a time of great sadness and despair.
There was a lot of confusion and explanations were muddled and complicated. We were all asking questions and finding out that answers that weren’t there. Our entire family was in an emotional crisis and we were at risk of being overcome with anger and blame.
That’s when I said, “forgive those who need you the most.”
Forgiveness is about letting go and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment. It’s about acknowledging our own inner pain and the anguish of others.
I first realized the power of forgiveness when our son, Eric, came into our lives. From the moment he was born we were transported into this world of the unknown and instantly were headed in a whole new direction. Rather than enjoy our newborn child, our days were filled with doctor’s appointments, long hospital admissions, sleepless nights, community support people, therapy, equipment, in home support workers and so on. We certainly didn’t plan for this. Who does? Eric was fighting for his life and we were fighting for our survival. We had lost all control of our goals and dreams and what we had planned for.
At first, there was deep sorrow and feelings of resentment. I remember feeling angry with the many support organizations. They were there to assist however no matter what they had provided, in our minds, it wasn’t enough. It seemed like there were more barriers and limitations than there was help.
“Where was the true expertise?” we asked. Organizations were there to help and while each one provided a portion of the puzzle, there were still missing pieces. The understanding for the kind of support for the practical and day to day needs of a family were not there. Family members would say, “Agencies and professionals, they don’t truly understand our lives; they don’t get it.”
Thinking about what I was hearing and considering our own experience, I knew there had to be a way to make a difference.
Our family situation became a real eye-opener for me. It brought me to a whole new understanding about the meaning of determination, independence, relationships, and what it took to overcome heartbreak and unforeseen change. It also helped me to realize the power of forgiveness.
Making a decision to let go of resentment provides the opportunity to move away from feeling like a victim and the “why me” approach. Forgiveness can offer the clarity to realize a purpose.
Forgive yourself and you will forgive others. The first step that I took was to forgive myself. We had a son who had a severe disability. This was our situation and it was nobody’s fault. Blame, anger and guilt, weren’t going to get us anywhere. Forgive yourself and you will forgive others.
Forgiveness helps us to understand the perspective of others. Forgiveness allows us to see things more clearly and to make decisions and offer ideas that are not clouded my resentment, bitterness or anger. If I wanted things to improve, it was up to me to help them to understand my point of view.
Forgiveness is not about giving up on your values and ideals. It can be very difficult to see the positive behind a cloud of shock, sadness and misfortune. Through forgiveness, we can influence change and recognize our role in making a difference for improving our life and the lives of others.
Forgive those who need you the most. You will be amazed at what can happen.