I remember my grandpa, a retired anesthesiologist, once telling me that pain is an important part of the body healing itself. That after a surgery, pain management is vital. Keeping a patient comfortable so they can move around is important for their recovery post op. However, there comes a point when the pain meds actually slow the body’s ability to heal in the long run, and a person has to be taken off the medication in order to fully recover.
In the days and months following the debacle with my friend and her entourage I found myself surrounded by unexpected friendships and acceptance. It was as if letting go of her and all that went with that life opened up space for a new, and so much better, life.
The people that filled my life were as determined to see the best in me, as my friend had been to see the worst. The generosity of their kindness and acceptance was like a soothing painkiller. Even as I attempted to share how ugly I felt like I truly was, they refused to see it, and patiently insisted on the greatness they saw in me instead.
I knew that in order to receive what they were saying, I had to forgive.
Forgiveness is like breathing... you can't stop and expect to keep living. When you stop forgiving vital parts of you suffocate, until you are no longer a person you recognize.
This process wasn’t easy or quick. It was hourly at first, then daily, every few days, then weekly, as so on… it was rough sometimes. Remaining angry and hanging on to my right to be upset and hurt would have been so much easier! I could easily justify myself, could have produced evidence that would have convinced a pope of the injustices done against me and my rights for retribution… and I really badly wanted to at times.
However, the contrast between the way my friend and her entourage spoke, and how these people filling my life now, lived was so stark and I was loved on so unconditionally, so relentlessly, and with such firm belief that I was worth the time and energy to pursue, that I felt myself comfortably letting it all go.
Letting it go meant I had to give up my rights to being hurt – to keeping the pain bottle up. I spent a lot of hours focusing on what everyone in my life was now saying about me – what God was speaking about me and how He saw me, purposely forgetting the hurtful words spoken before. That process was kinda like pain management… I didn’t focus on the pain, I focused on getting up and moving again.
In the case of being wounded by a friend and her entourage, forgiveness was the surgery I underwent in order to be healthy. Now, the work of forgiveness has freed me to begin the process of healing.
The pain I felt at the sight of my former friend, so beautifully posed, is a sign that it is time to come off the medication and complete the healing.
A process I’m not entirely sure I know how to walk out…