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From closure to forgiveness

Updated on July 19, 2010

On January 8, 2010 I started a frantic internet search on local Lutheran churches in the vicinity of what, at the time, was my place of residence. I had spent days and nights looking for religions that resembled my thinking style and my personal credos on matters of God and spirituality, and finally I made a consensual decision that Lutheranism was ultimately the doctrine I deemed appropriate to embrace and integrate at that particular time of my life. The return to God and mysticism wasn’t an easy one for me. Baptized Catholic, I have spent several years of my life trying to assimilate many principles belonging to the Catholic Church, but failed each time to really buy into their core significance and roots, along with their applicability in today’s exceedingly different society. The result of that clash between faith and beliefs was catastrophic in the past four years of my existence: I gradually pulled away from God the same way a young daughter at the dawn of her adult life draws back from her own father when divergences of opinion are strong enough to make communication impossible. God became my estranged father, and I became his lost sheep. I avoided his word and his judgment like a plague, distrusting his actual existence like kids do when they learn Santa is just a Christmas myth. But life became hard to live, and the burden of doubt and unanswered questions turned me into this strictly earthly individual to whom only what’s visible and tangible is real. That could not last forever. My heart grew heavy, my soul grew hungry for truth and my need for forgiveness became insatiable. Not the forgiveness you ask for, but the forgiveness you grant to others.

At that time of my life I had spent four deplorable years in a tumultuous relationship with a man I was never meant to be with. By no means was I the victim of crimes I had no responsibility for, but some of those crimes were of a disturbing enough nature that many people would deem them off limits and just plain cruel. The main reason I, myself, was to blame for part of those crimes was the fact that I was willing to withstand them despite the obvious wrongness of their circumstances. I somehow was blind to their corruption and forever ready to sacrifice my self-respect in the name of the love for a man who simply didn’t love me back. You can imagine how, in the course of those four years, the hatred, the resentment, the anger and the bitterness built up inside me. In December 2009 all I could think of was how much that man had done me wrong. I was on the verge of madness at times. Until I decided I had to find a way to let the negativity out of me and finally learn to let go. That’s how I let God comeback into my life once more. I realized how my disapproval for the Catholic canons had nothing to do with God Himself and how I couldn’t let those canons dictate the rhythm of my spiritual life. On January 9, 2010 I stepped into a sacred building again after years, this time with the comforting awareness that I needed God in my life to find my path to forgiveness and peace.

It’s been a rough patch since then, I won’t lie. At times I was mad and furious; at times I was sad and distraught. I looked back at the memories we had built together: the trips we took; the concerts we went to; family dinners and holidays; the time back home in Italy in 2008; the night he proposed; our Sicilian adventures; the evening we found out we were going to have a baby; the New Years eves we spent together watching the ball drop at midnight from the warmth of the bed we shared; the first snow storm we experienced together in Connecticut; the remodeling works we did on our home; the good times. Unfortunately every single one of those good memories can be easily paired with the same amount of dreadful nightmares I endured during our time together, but I won’t go into the details of those nightmares because I don’t want to now. When I looked back at those heartwarming memories, I couldn’t help but wonder how the same man had been lying to me all along times and times again, looking at me straight in the eyes without flinching for a moment; how that very same man had found the courage to replace me in his life while I was still part of it on an everyday basis…And I fell, I fell deep down in the abyss of inconsolability and hate. I finally parted from him in April 2010. I was still angry, my hostility was unresolved.

But time goes by, and time does heal all wounds, it really does. When we are on the spur of our moments of despair, we don’t really believe in that notion, but I will tell you today, July 19, 2010, that all I can see now are scars. I let three months go by without having any kind of communication with my ex fiancée. He called, and sent me texts to let me know he missed me, but I never replied. I was too hurt and still holding on to the sourness of all the pain he had caused in my life. Until the other day, Friday, I was attempting to find a way to watch my (and his) beloved baseball team (the Yankees) game, and I suddenly felt the urge to let him know that here in California the TV schedule is all “screwed up” (my exact words, lol!). See, in Connecticut usually games are streamed in the same time zone as they occur, which is usually in the early afternoon around 1pm or in the later evening around 7pm. Therefore it feels strange to me to watch a game at 10 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon after having gotten used to my usual routine for more than three years. Anyways, I sent him a text message and he replied. In that very moment I found closure. It felt like letting go of an extremely heavy concrete block that kept me prisoner at the bottom of the ocean and finally breathe again, feeling the depth of my breath leaving my body on its way out. Cathartic, powerful, liberating.

Eventually we exchanged a series of text messages. He said he missed me, once more, but this time that bitter taste of hurt and spite was not present anymore. I can’t really say that that declaration left me with a sense of lost romance either; at this point I am capable of discerning that information for what it really means on a literal and psychological level. In that moment of truth I found forgiveness and peace. I don’t look back at the good memories with the incontrollable need of wanting them back. They’re memories, they’re gone. But I replay them in my mind and I smile, serenely, naturally, with a sense of tenderness and resolution.

I believe we ought to understand that unwanted separation is made of a cycle of feelings and that we ought to live each stage of the cycle completely until it’s fulfilled its purpose. Abandonment; anger; sadness; sorrow; closure; forgiveness. Skip one stage, and you’ll be doomed to emotional captivity until you realize (if you hopefully do at some point) that you have to go back and revise your actions, come clean with your emotions.

I used to know this person who cannot let go. He spent his entire life being angry at people and circumstances, never feeling the need to say “I’m sorry”. His father betrayed him. His mother left him prematurely. His sisters don’t understand him. His lover didn’t get him. He says I don’t know him, but I do, yes I do. Let go my love, I am here for you.

© 2010 Roberta S

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    • robertaharden profile imageAUTHOR

      Roberta S 

      8 years ago from California on the rocks

      Thank you for your thoughts SJ. Closure is definitely something I still need to work on in other circumstances of my current situation. I just hope I can find it sooner than later. Thank you.

    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 

      8 years ago

      Roberta, I really like this, and I like that you add songs to your thought process. Madonna has a great line in a song, "don't hold on to the past...well that's too much to ask." Letting go is very tough, I'm one who if left to my own devices, I will do CPR too long, I will water dead plants, and I will keep loving long after goodbyes (even when I'm the one saying them). I've struggled before with whether or not to seek the right kind of closure--if the finality of that would be helpful, or to just avoid it, and let it be. Who really knows.

      Appreciated your experience with your relationship with God.

      With Kristin on the fact that it's very clear how painful this is for you, and it looks like your coming in to some peace which is great. No pain is permanent.

    • robertaharden profile imageAUTHOR

      Roberta S 

      8 years ago from California on the rocks

      Thank you for your good luck wishes Tom, they are truly appreciated!!

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      8 years ago from home

      RM, what do you mean there is no santa how do the presents get under the tree???? LIAR :LIAR !!!!! On a serious note- I think it sounds like you are trying to get out of this "funk" I don't mean George Clinton....or at least you are thinking straighter- I am not sure which came first but I have a feeling this came last it seems your getting your peace as I statted in a previous note- (to me) 2 months things will turn around for you....September 23rd- my birthday- no need to get me anything- You r happiness will be a gift enough- I am sure of this-Let it happen - Like gravity it will happen and you won't even realize anything is different.. until you do see the change...

      TH

    • ilmdamaily profile image

      ilmdamaily 

      8 years ago from A forgotten corner of a dying empire. OK, it's Australia :-)

      That's great work Roberta - the drain you feel is palpable, and comes accross to me as a reader also. I know what you mean - I wrote something myself just now which left me spent also.

      It's so positive that you've found some closure - in spite of all of the pain you've gone through to get it.

      The way you describe your relationship with God intrigues me also - particularly I like the way you differentiate between faith and belief - as so often we conflate the two without realising that each is different - with a different source, and different purpose.

      I like also the way you relate the power of forgiveness in that relationship with God, and the way in which you derive strength from finding the power to forgive, rathern than needing forgiveness yourself.

      Your writing's really developing Roberta - keep up the good work!

      Enjoy your peace:-)

    • robertaharden profile imageAUTHOR

      Roberta S 

      8 years ago from California on the rocks

      This hub was incredibly heart wrenching. I feel emotionally drained.

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