I will probably look like the chick from the Grudge in this blog post. Hopefully not by the end of it, though.
I always thought I was someone who had the upper hand in forgiving people. As naive as it sounds, I have always had such a hard time holding grudges. Then I met Laura.
Laura did some very awful things to me. She two faced me. She pretended to be a friend, but ultimately changed my whole life. Granted, it worked things out for the better, now. I saw that when I met Daniel, and realized what it was like to be truly loved.
Laura. She’s a spider in my life.
And because of her, I know what it feels like to have a hard time forgiving.
When I first began going to the Catholic Church, journeying through RCIA, one obstacle was confession. Because of my grudge on Laura, I wasn’t sure how to explain to the priest that my problem was deeper than just an easy sin. It was something I couldn’t change. Something bad that hurt me….that made me hate myself and cry.
How do you just forgive someone who turned your whole world around? Once I became Catholic, I visited a priest in another town every couple of weeks to talk about it. He could see how hurt I was, from what she did, the oppression, and from my own transgression. He would spend the time speaking to me about it, encouraging me to keep praying. He saw my problem… if I forgive her, I would have to be friendly with her. But I didn’t want to be friendly. I didn’t want to be around her. And he told me that forgiveness doesn’t mean being friends. I had to come to terms with this. This had been a problem my whole life. I always forgave…and forgot…and continued. I was naive. Thinking staying friends with people who did me wrong would make things right again…
I also read a verse somewhere, either during a Mass reading or on my own, that Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross to forgive everyone, and how little my burden is compared to that sacrifice. It would make me cry staring at the crucifix. He wants my yolk. How could I be so bitter…
It’s been since 2016. I only now feel the affects of forgiveness towards her. The anger I used to feel at her name, at seeing her, it has become more like a pity feeling. I just want her away from my daughter and to move on. I don’t need Isla learning that it’s ok. But for so long I wanted her to taste her own medicine, to feel pain twice more than she made me feel. And I hated that. It didn’t help. It only made me more angry when I didn’t see her in pain.
I see more than ever that there needs to be a balance between forgiveness and friendliness. Sometimes, friendliness is necessary. Other times, it is not. And being concerned about vengeance can only keep you in the darkness of a grudge.
This quote from St. Philip Neri is perfect!!
“If a man finds it very hard to forgive injuries, let him look at a Crucifix, and think that Christ shed all His Blood for him, and not only forgave His enemies, but even prayed His Heavenly Father to forgive them also. Let him remember that when he says the Pater Noster, every day, instead of asking pardon for his sins, he is calling down vengeance on himself.”
–Saint Philip Neri