Monday, 25 June 2007

What does it mean to Forgive?

I had this friend...

I am not sure what he is now.
A few years ago it came to light that he had abused the daughter of another friend of ours.
I still remember this young women coming to my door on the way to the police to lay a complaint. I looked at this beautiful young courageous women and all I could do was cry and say things like
"I am so sorry this happened to you",
"I am so sorry we didn't know",
"I'm so sorry we let this happen and didn't protect you and you had to go through this alone".

What followed next was very public the guy confessed, was sentenced, fined, and basically lost everything and everyone.

At the time I did a lot of soul searching, there was a lot of grief for the young woman and her mother and also for the friendship that my husband and I had had previously with this guy who had now shown a face we hadn't anticipated.

We never made contact with him, I myself was so angry with him, this was a guy who had been my first Christian friend, who had shown me that maybe God was an okay way to go.

Anyway he has been on my heart of late. I have been left pondering such questions as "how as a Christian do I practice what I preach?", "how do I have forgiveness and act with compassion to one who has acted in a way repugnant to me and indeed those I love?"
All rather knaw your arm off stuff really.
Over time I have moved from holding rage and betrayal, to acid bitterness, and now somtthing a kin to a pool of sadness that sits in my belly.

And God, being God is quite happy for me to sit with this dis-ease with just a simple ...well?

In the end I had to act.
I contacted his mother. She was so suspicious, so incredibly fearful of me and the world. Her brokenness over what has happened manifested in moments of terror at the end of the phone and a high pitched hysteria which in one moment was spewed out and in the next swallowed back deep into herself .

I left a number and today some weeks later when I tell myself that it is all over he phones... of course!

We skirt around things at first, me not sure what to say to this person in some ways so familiar yet so foreign. There is a barren loneliness in him yet what I hear is about him, not about what he has done or who has been hurt. I am torn between wanting to shake him and ask if he really knows what he has done, and in another moment to tell him it is okay.

A phone conversation in the middle of an office is not the place to speak of such things.
To a point we are superficial touching on agonies briefly and without depth, aware the whole time of the cautiousness in us both. We talk about meeting to talk more about this, then there is this long pause and I don't know what it is I am supposed to say but I know that this is what all the unease over the last few weeks has been leading up too.

"You are not hated (name)" it is all I can find to say
"Know you are not hated"

there is a pause and down the end of the phone he sobs "My God you just made me cry..."

We hang up I go into the bathroom and am sick.
Sometimes forgiveness is hard.

1 comment:

Pinarello Man said...

Been listening to this song a lot to deal with some seemingly impossible issues, this amongst other things, God included did the trick.

Isa Couvertier - Breathe

Finding that the feeling inside of you,
Is more than you can bare,
When the past is staring you in the face,
When the prison you’ve been living in feels like home to you,
Just know that forgiveness is the sweetest thing,
Forgiveness is the sweetest thing,
When you let it all go is the sweetest thing,