I was stunned when I heard those words escape my mouth. Who the Hell was I to bark on about forgiveness? I can be such an overbearing arrogant old thing and how dare I say that to a woman who is many times more evolved than I am. She took it in stride and nodded her head vigorously telling me the auto accident, which left her with a severe traumatic brain injury, was the best thing that ever happened to her. Big statement from a woman who has—in my eyes—an amazing life filled with love and grace.
But I knew what she meant because I forgave my accident almost immediately after it happened and it was also the best thing that ever happened to me. Even now, fourteen months later, it continues to break me open. A couple of days after our conversation, I realized even more things I need to forgive, and this is both daunting and humbling. Daunting because there is a lot of crap locked up in my heart and humbling because I thought I had this forgiveness thing mastered.
I love it when the Universe takes me down a notch or forty; each time I’m shown how much more I need to learn I am handed the gift of a teacher to help me on the path. Last week after a weekend of guided meditation led by a coach and a teacher I came to terms with those old things I need to forgive. Why is this forgiveness business so hard for me?
The Saturday after my weekend away, I took a solo walk and about fifteen minutes into my walk I grew angry at my back. I couldn’t even take a damn hike without having pain. The uneven ground made it worse, too. Why was taking a hike hard. . .I just wanted to lift fifty or sixty pounds like I could before. . .but then I realized I was doing more than that goddamned f***ing doctor told me I would do.
Thinking about that man made me see red and I started marching rather than walking: Jackass told me I would never stand up straight. (My posture is better than it was before the accident!) Dickhead’s answer when I asked about having sex again was a wave of his hand. (I guess sexually active 53 year olds made him uncomfortable. Good thing I did my own reasearch!) If I ever need surgery the last person on Earth to touch my back is this assclown. I stomped across the path, probably making my back seize even more as I rehearsed an angry tirade against the surgeon I consulted. The spasm bade me to stop and my treatise silenced when I heard another voice:
“You need to forgive the surgeon. Look at how he caused you—the woman who once upon a time gave up too easily—to sally forth and prove him wrong. Maybe you should thank him for being a dickhead just after you forgive him for being an assclown.”
I sat down at that point to rest and to contemplate forgiveness. I felt immediately lighter and my back didn’t hurt as much when I decided to walk home.
On the way home it occurred to me forgiveness is a journey. Perhaps it’s a more meaningful and lasting if you forgive yourself first and don’t rush through the transformation. I need to take my time over this uneven terrain so I never have to traverse it again.