“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” Steve Maraboli
Who have you forgiven lately or who do you need to forgive and haven’t?
One Sunday morning I woke from a dream. It had been lengthy but I only remembered the last moment. I was walking through an airport on the way to catch a flight that was leaving soon and I stopped, suddenly realizing I had left my luggage at home. After I got out of bed and unsuccessfully tried for a few minutes to remember more, I walked over to my husband and said, “I just dreamed that I was in an airport about to catch a flight when I realized I had left my baggage at home.”
Why did I say baggage? Then it hit me – that’s what the dream was about! My husband who is a retired therapist began asking me questions about what I thought my emotional/psychological baggage was. I gave it serious thought but nothing came up. In fact, other than being disturbed by our president’s behavior and dealing with some back problems that have greatly improved, I’ve been feeling very peaceful.
Baggage I Needed to Release
Later that morning, I remembered a very significant time in the past when it had taken me a long time to forgive and when I finally did, it was transforming.
During college, I had fallen in love with a man six months before he went to the Vietnam War. We became engaged and when he returned a year later, we married rather quickly and lived together for the next ten years before divorcing. During those years, I taught in high school and taught some modern dance when I could. Eventually I was able to dance with a small company fulfilling one of my life’s dreams.
But this didn’t work well for my husband who wanted a divorce. He later admitted he had had affairs while we were married. My love of dance angered him because he felt I loved dance more than I loved him.
“But,” I said, “I told you before we married that I had to dance, that it was part of me, and you said that was okay.”
“Well, I thought you’d get tired of it – outgrow it.”
I was stunned by that revelation, and the pain of his betrayals haunted me for years.
Learning to Forgive
Then one day, many years after the divorce, I finally understood how I had not understood his needs. Of course he needed a partner totally devoted to him. His mother had been single, working a job that left him alone most of the day and evening, even when he was in elementary school. He had to fix his own dinner, which often involved opening a can of food and heating it. He didn’t know his father who had left when his mother became pregnant.
When his mother married, it was to a man who was untrustworthy and whose mother treated my ex like he was a nuisance. These were the only relatives he had to live with as he completed high school. No wonder he joined the Marines!
Compassion Leads to Forgiveness
Reflecting on his early years, I was suddenly filled with a deep sadness. On an emotional level for the first time, I understood how deeply he had needed a wife who was motherly, and I was not. I was an independent woman on her own path when that was not an acceptable way for a woman to be. For the first time, I truly forgave him for the hurt he caused me, and I forgave myself for being so blind to his needs. Finally, I was able to leave that baggage behind.
But why was this dream coming up now? I don’t know. But I suspect there may be more baggage lurking in my mental closet. Only time will tell.
Whom do you need to forgive today?
© Georganne Spruce