My husband and son just dropped me off at the airport for my trip to New York, going to celebrate a 50th birthday there. My son started crying when I got out of the car, although I had been prepping his little year-and-a-half old ears for days that I was leaving. He still got upset – this sweet little being who lives in immediate reality. We reassured him that daddy was staying and that I would be back, like I always am. “I always come back, Sami. Remember how I always do…?”
It made me think about how many hellos and goodbyes we bid.
How some of them are for logistical reasons, some out of anger and some out of misunderstandings. All ought to be forgiven. Even one like this morning’s I’d ask Sami forgiveness for, even if it’s small on the scale of trespasses. Still hurt his feelings. And then I’d always also make good on my promise to come back when I said.
Where does that leave bigger issues?
I spoke a close family member recently and there was something, he said, that he would never forgive another family member for. “Never?” I said. He didn’t think he should have to, that is how hurt he had gotten. I think he thought that forgiving meant forgetting. No one is asking us to do that. I think forgiving the people in our lives over and over again is par for the course. The likelihood that we ourselves will mess up around the people closest to us is high as well. You’d want to be forgiven yourself.
But what is someone keeps doing the same hurtful thing over and over again?
The best thing is to foster the ability on everyone’s part to always keep an open conversation about it. Where it is no big deal to say, “you did that thing again”. “Oh, I did? I am sorry.” And then you have the discussion about it. A million of them if needed. That invariably will lead to deeper insights about each other and the relationship dynamic.
I believe Sami will forgive my leaving for a few days. But if he in his mind says when he is older, “you left me!” I will talk to him about it. I will tell him all the facts of the stay away, how many days, but more importantly, how it was all by design, and that he was completely taken care of and that I always came back.
But I’d also still ask for forgiveness for hurting his feelings.
Revealing the facts of the situation is important but not complete.
Nothing feels so good as someone asking for forgiveness and taking care of you
when you feel hurt. And then, it feels even better to forgive.
What do YOU think?