Forgiveness is a strange concept yet delightfully fulfilling. When done with true intent it makes two people happy: The one forgiving and the one receiving it.
The month of February has been a rollercoaster one, personally. Despite the joy of moving into a new place, the plague of illness kept me from achieving full joy. Towards the end, though, I managed to find gratitude even in the dark moments.
The last week, you’d think, has been better than most and in some ways, it has been. But I’m still not out of the woods where health is concerned. I have to be careful, not exert myself too much and take precautions to ensure that I stay healthy.
For someone who’s generally enjoyed decent health, this has been extremely annoying to say the least. What’s worse though, is the way I vented my frustration on everyone around me, especially my family.
My parenting blog has a ticker in the sidebar which tells my readers how I’ve been yell-free for 547 days. Whew, that comes as a surprise, even to me. And it’s true. I haven’t raised my voice at Gy for this period. But that doesn’t mean I’ve always been kind.
Late last night, after a week of renewed pain and more visits to the doctor, I was royally fed up of seeing white coats, the scan machine, nurses and lab reports. To add to this, I’ve been goading Gy to study for her upcoming exams and been completely stressed about the fact that she waves it away airily! A part of me just broke down uncontrollably in the characteristic Why me syndrome and I sat quietly on the bed, shedding tears in sheer despair. You could say it was one of the lowest points of my week/month.
To my mind, I was a complete failure as a woman, a parent, a spouse because
- I hadn’t been able to cook/clean regularly for the past month and more.
- I had no energy to do any of my walking exercises or my yoga which I’d gotten so used to.
- I was unable to convince my child to focus more on her work.
- I felt robbed of my ability to bounce back from an illness, mentally speaking.
It was so bad that I honestly blamed myself for every single thing that happened. Hearing me cry, my daughter came and sat by my side, engulfed me in a bear hug and said, ‘It’s all right, Amma. Things will be better soon.’
That’s when the turnaround happened. What’s that saying about, ‘When you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up’? Well, that was the moment that did it for me.
I let go.
That’s when I discovered one of the secrets behind forgiveness. It begins with you.
I forgave myself for everything.
I stopped looking at the home as a project that needs to be kept spick and span. I saw it as a place to live, a roof over one’s head with people I love, by my side.
I stopped worrying about healthy, nutritious 3-course meals for the time being. Food, even out of a package, works fine for now.
I stopped wondering when I’d get back to my fitness routine and began to breathe, letting my body take its time to heal.
I stopped looking at my daughter’s unwillingness to study as a reflection on my parenting. When the time comes, she will study, this I know and trust. If she doesn’t, she will face the outcome and learn from it, on her own.
I stopped forcing myself to get better and surrendered to what I know is good for me: rest, remedial medication and a peaceful mind.
And this is how I know forgiveness works. It’s how generations before us have dealt with disappointment, betrayal, anger and despair. They start by letting go of the hurt and observing it dispassionately. They separate the action from the actor, the behaviour from the person. They know the primal truth on which forgiveness works:
It begins and ends with you.