About a month ago I wrote a post about my father’s second wedding, and stealing my sister, Lindsey’s tights for the ceremony.
Lindsey doesn’t often read this blog, but that entry caught her attention. After she read it she called me to say that she didn’t even remember the incident, and that there was nothing to apologize for, so nothing to forgive.
I asked for her forgiveness anyway, and she graciously gave it right away.
Whether a misdemeanor or federal offense – crimes against family feel the most punishing. And the sentences we impose on ourselves and each other can keep us locked up for far longer than we ever intended.
On Tuesday, I sat in a church listening to my friend and colleague eulogize his first born son and namesake. I heard him offer forgiveness to the man who took his own son’s life, and preach the depths and lengths of Love and Forgiveness.
On any day this message and raw display of openness, compassion, and courage would’ve stayed with me – but it just happened that I would be in this church with my grieving friend and his family the day after I visited with my own father after a five-year silence.
The distance between my first father (I have two others, the one who primarily raised me and the one I lovingly received in marriage) and me, was necessary. And there are many people who love me, who will read that I saw him, and be nervous. Just as there were many people who love him, who called when he saw me, because they were nervous.
For me, the brave thing was to see him. To say my truths, to acknowledge my pain, and to sit with how I feel. To finally (and fully) forgive myself for taking on what does not belong to me.
It was a full-on Good Will Hunting experience. The divorce was not my fault. The addictions and afflictions were not my fault. The distance and awkwardness were not (are not) my fault.
I believe my Dad, and I, and you are already at our core, forgiven. Not necessarily by one another, or the law, but by that deep and perfect force that forever and always connects us. That deep and perfect and powerful everlasting: LOVE.
During his eulogy, my friend was clear that the man who took his son’s life, got tricked. He didn’t, he couldn’t see his son. His beauty, his grace, his God, his Love. He couldn’t see it. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, that it still isn’t there.
Love and Forgiveness may be infinite. But, time isn’t. And so, I’m just feeling that even when it’s difficult and awkward and painful, I want to spend my time doing more of the brave things – and live as presently as I can with the Love and Forgiveness that I can give and receive.
For more than a week now, Leonard Cohen has been on repeat in heart and my mind. His time here has ended too, but his truths continue to echo.
Love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.