I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.
–Jane Austen/Pride And Prejudice
Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember.
–Barbara Kingsolver/The Poisonwood Bible
On the first day of our vacation, I got a huge splinter in my index finger. Right under my fingernail. Yeah. Ouch. It was a big jagged hunk of wood, and it stabbed in about halfway into my nail. It pulled out easily (ewwww) and bled copiously (ewww) and hurt like a sombitch. I figured it would be better in a day or two.
It wasn’t terrible, but it hurt in that constantly irritating throbbing sort of way. It looked fine, aside from the blood blister under the nail, but it hurt. More than it seemed like it should. It still hurt when we got home a week later. Then the blood blister rose to the top and all the skin came off the top of my finger along with it. The other thing that came out along with the skin was a quarter inch sliver of wood that had been in my finger the whole time.
A few hours later, my finger was almost completely pain free.
I think emotional hurt and forgiveness also work something like that.
An emotional or spiritual injury might leave a sliver of hurt in you. Until you can bring it to the surface and remove it, it will always hurt. It might not keep you from getting on with your life, but it’s a kind of a nagging pain that keeps you from being completely well as a person.
For a long time, I thought there were some things that are unforgivable. I’m not so sure about that now. Maybe you can let go of something and forgive without accepting it in your life anymore. Just because you forgive an abuser, you do not have to continue to accept abuse. It doesn’t mean you necessarily trust someone untrustworthy. It means you let go of it. You don’t use your energy on hating. You stop hitting back, either at yourself or the person who hurt you.
Not that it’s easy. Especially if the sliver is still inside of you.
Before anything can heal, the emotional splinter has to be found and removed.
Just like a physical one.
You remove the splinter, and there’s immediately less pain.
When there’s less pain, you can forgive.
With love and thanks to anyone who has provided tweezers when needed.