Thursday, February 3, 2011

Letting Go

Eldest was asking me about my derailed friendship with Steve, the man who called me out of the blue awhile back. I was telling him how that it had happened so very long ago, and that I'd also very long ago let go of those feelings.

When I left my first husband, our two best friends, Steve and his wife Leslie, essentially never had any contact with me again. I was cut out of their lives along with the life of their eight-month-old daughter, my first (and only) Goddaughter. Fast forward 15 years, and there's that call from Steve out of the blue. We have since seen each other a couple of times and we've spoken on the phone quite a bit. I have been re-introduced to his daughter, and my own Daughter loves the fact that there is potentially an older girl in her life.

Steve and Leslie separated awhile ago and are now officially divorced. They are on anything but friendly terms, although I sense that Steve does not share his most bitter feelings with his daughter.

So, back to that conversation with Eldest. He couldn't really grasp how I could really forgive Steve for what happened. He is, of course, younger than any grudge I might have been carrying about Steve (and Leslie). They were aware that I was pregnant when all this happened, but they cut off contact at about the time I shared that news with them, just a couple of months after the end of that first marriage of mine. The extremely limited contact I'd had with them in those months, comprised of a few phone calls, ended completely then.

I remember running into them a couple of months later, when Pete and I were at my favorite dim sum place in San Francisco. There was no reason for them to be in the city, so it was a complete shock to see them there. I reached out to them, but they cut me to the quick. Any hope I might have had that we would be able to maintain our previous extremely close relationship, or even a semblance of it, ended then and there.

What Eldest couldn't understand, particularly as I described the details of the end of the friendship, was how I could now let it go. But I think I convinced him of several things, although I know just saying them doesn't mean he won't have to just learn them for himself.

You can't maintain that level of anger and hurt and enjoy peace and happiness in your life.

Holding onto those feelings really only does damage to you; those feelings do nothing to the ones you feel have wronged you.

Time really does lessen any pain, be it hurt or anger or loss of love or loss of a loved one.

If you don't grant forgiveness to someone who truly seeks it, who is truly repentant, why should you ever be granted forgiveness by someone you hurt?

All well and good, those platitudes. Let's see how well I do walking the talk.


Josie Two Shoes said...

This is so true, Patty. It is said that anger does far more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to the one on which it is poured. Anger and resentment and even hurt do fade in time. The memories of those feelings are there, but life goes on and energy is required for living it. Those who can't move on become embittered and live damaged lives. Forgiveness is not easy, but it is definitely a step toward healing. I think you explained things to your son well, someday he will understand the wisdom of your words.

mayberry said...

I am still working on some of those...

So glad to hear that you've been able to see your goddaughter.

Kelly O said...

Hey, thanks so much for writing about this. It's incredibly painful when you realize that, not only are you losing your primary relationship but you're also inexplicably losing a lot of your best friends, all people who you thought you'd grow old with. I really appreciate knowing I'm not alone, and that these kinds of experiences tend to follow a predictable script, for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...

Does forgiveness extend to brothers too? Hope so!!

Patois42 said...

In fact, dear brother o' mine, that was extended many years ago. Part of the conversation with Eldest included references to how he wouldn't know his uncles, aunt or cousin if we hadn't all managed to let go.

I hope it extends from brothers to sisters, too!

Love you, dear Steve.

Mrs4444 said...

You're absolutely right. Conversations like this are so important. I'm happy that you and your son can talk/listen to each other.


I mentioned to Eldest the other night that I had a fairly wide open day Friday. Writer that he is, he wondered if I would perhaps like a wri...