There are few things I’ve learned that are more important to my relationships, than learning how to love, forgive, and appreciate everyone in my life. This has not only helped me heal from abuse, but has also taught me how to be present, because I’m not carrying around wounds from the past.
I struggled in a relationship with the man who was married to my mother for over 32 years. He started making sexual advances towards me when I was 16. Not understanding his behavior, I wondered what I had done to deserve this from a man who was supposed to love me. I lived in the fear that every time I saw him he was going to touch me inappropriately. My mother got divorced.
As I gradually was able to let go of my anger, I did forgive my stepfather. Finding appreciation and gratitude for him took longer.
One morning, as I was journaling, I had the profound realization that I would neither be the person I am today, nor would I be doing the work I cherish so deeply, had I not gone through all those experiences.
It was with this realization that I was given the opportunity to live out my new beliefs.
One day I stopped at my mom’s house. My mom wasn’t home at the time.
I saw a strange car parked in her driveway and saw someone standing in her garage. As I parked my car and got out, I was shocked to see it was my stepfather.
I hadn’t seen him since three years earlier. After an initial moment of recoil, I had a sudden awakening. There was nothing to be afraid of anymore. I was no longer that frightened young girl. I had only forgiveness and compassion for this confused, old man. I walked up to him and gave him a hug as if he’d never done anything wrong. Sadly, in his mind, he never understood that he had.
In that instant, I let go of 32 years of fear. It was gone. Like nothing else, our chance meeting allowed me to fully heal and embrace this lesson of forgiveness. He had come into my life so I could learn how to heal my own heart, and help others do the same.
I felt only gratitude… and love.
Andy Rooney once said, “I’ve learned… that love, not time, heals all wounds.” That was certainly true for me. It wasn’t time, but love that allowed me to heal. In a moment of forgiveness, my life transformed forever and my heart became whole.