I think I have spoken before about my mom's second husband...who was abusive...who I have forgiven...and who I had contemplated attempting a relationship with. Hoping I could show him what love looks like. Agape love. unconditional love.
All of which was derailed when I went back home and the memories came flooding back, leading to a weight loss stall and then the realization that I was still angry.
Leading me to get around to forgiving again.
Whoever said forgiveness was easy was an idiot.1
I doubt any one ever said forgiveness was easy.
I think true forgiveness has to come from a place of empathy.
And I think I crossed that threshhold today on the way back from the gym.
I was driving back and thinking, when I finally realized what had been holding me back from reaching out to Duane all this time.
I feared that as I gave I would expect something in return and be disappointed.
You see, Duane and I have been through periods of near reconciliation and then the ultimate disappointment of him reverting to previous behavior.
I finally realized something.
You can give unconditional love, but if the other person refuses to recieve it...it is a gift that lies unopened.
I know in my heart of hearts Duane simply doesn't know how to recieve love.
He attempts to utilize any leverage as a way to gain sympathy, or exert control.
And true love not only expresses sympathy and encouragement...it tells the truth.
And in any relationship, honesty and love go hand in hand.
And the moment I was honest...that would be the end of the relationship.
Duane was raised in an abusive environment.
I don't think he has ever seen a pure and true act of love.
I was lucky enough that while I lived in an abusive environment for a while, I had love demonstrated to me.
I watched my mom show her love through acts of sacrifice...like getting up at 3 in the morning to go to work to provide for us...sewing our clothes and cleaning our home till late at night to provide a HOME.
While my mom failed in some areas (as all of us do)
I at least got to see love demonstrated...
And now I will talk about a dream I had.
The greatest love I have ever experienced and will ever experience is God's love.
I h ave felt God's presence since I was little.
I have always believed. I can't remember a time when I didn't...
Until I went to Europe and made friends of varying faiths, and wanted to make sure I wasn't 'brainwashed'.
*as someone had implied*
I started reading eastern philophies...I read about the hindus, the buddhists, the muslims, the mormons, the atheists, the agnostics, judaism, about why I should believe in God..why I shouldn't.
This lasted for over a year.
And at the end of the year, I was more confused than when I started.
Then one night I went to sleep and had this dream.
It is still vivid.
In my dream I was standing on the edge of a huge lake.
It was night time and a full moon and before me stretched a dock jutting out into the water.
I walked out onto the dock, it was a long one..about a quarter mile out...and I sat down at the very end. I felt suddenly alone, so I looked back and the dock had disappeared except for the portion I was sitting on.
The moon was full and my feet were dangling in the water...
It was beautiful and I thought...I'll worry about how to get back later."
Then all the sudden I felt this warmth behind me...and this light was just..
bright...the brightest, warmest light..and it wasn't just light. It made me feel very very peaceful, and loved.
But I didn't turn around because I felt I couldn't.
And over my shoulder came a pair of scissors.
And this voice said...."cut the fingers off your right hand'.
I said "That's the hand I draw with."
He said "I know, just do as I say...trust me."
II took the scissors and did it..one by one I cut the fingers off my right hand.
There was no pain.
I watched them fall into the water.
Then over my shoulder he said "all my disciples know my voice...and those who lose their life for my sake will find life."
Then over my shoulder comes a piece of cloth and I tie it around my hand like he told me to....
and when I unwound it, my fingers were back.
And he said "You have to believe it, to see it."
And then he was gone and the dock was back.
Then I woke up I was crying.
I have never doubted it since.
I had to let God in.
To be loved you have to let yourself be loved...then you can love in return.
imagine never allowing love in.
Never feeling loved.
Never letting go of the anger and fear long enough to love.
If that isn't enough to make me feel empathy, nothing is.
It reminded me of this:
1 corinthians 13:1-13
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
So, I think I can show him compassion, empathy and honesty...
Like the choice I had, to let love in or block it out...that isn't my job.
Have a great night guys....