It has been over a month since I posted "Yom Kippur and the Gift of Forgiveness." I wanted time to reflect on this post before I wrote again. It was a huge step for me to try to forgive my ex and his mistress and I needed to let it marinate.
I realize now that my post was much more aspirational than realistic. I thought if I put the words out there, I might start to believe them and I would be able to close that painful chapter of my life sooner than later.
I wasn't alone in this hope. I got so many notes from friends and family who were "relieved" that I was "able to forgive and finally move on."
I suddenly felt this immense pressure! Not so fast, people! Don't get me wrong, I want to move on and I'm trying to move on, but I'm not so sure if I can really do it yet!
One of my friends knew better. He said, "you tied it all up with a nice little bow, but was that for real?" Well, yes and no. Maybe I was caught up in the holiday spirit, but when I wrote that post I believed I could forgive because I wanted it so much.
I hoped forgiveness would allow me to let go of some of my resentments and I would no longer feel like a victim.
As a victim, I am powerless and small and continuously play the broken record in my head of how I was betrayed and mistreated. I obsess on my disappointments -- how my son will never have the family life I dreamed he'd have and how I lost the partner, lover and best friend I thought I had.
Sometimes this victim complex hits me out of nowhere with brute force. I find myself sitting calmly on the subway when suddenly I find myself sobbing and wiping my nose with the JC Penny newspaper ad insert. That's what happens when my nice little bow unravels.
I don't want to disappoint my friends and family or myself, but I have to be honest. Forgiveness is farther away than I thought.
And the thing is, I'm not so sure they deserve forgiveness. What they did was wrong and they shouldn't be let off the hook, but I know that my holding on to that isn't going to help me.
Maybe forgiveness is just too tall an order. Perhaps I should just focus on acceptance for now. I know that I have a choice. I can let my resentments consume me or I can choose to accept my circumstances and not let them constantly haunt me. I work hard each and every day to remember this choice.
I was telling someone about my situation and he said, "Wow! That sounds awful. Are you afraid of relationships now? I mean, where is the silver lining in all of this?"
I pointed to a picture of my son. "Here's the silver lining," I said. "And also the possibilities that lie ahead. I thought I was happily married, but maybe I could have an even better relationship and the future will be more incredible than I could have ever imagined!"
I guess I just can't help but tie things up in a nice little bow. Maybe it's cliché, but my wide-eyed optimism is what gets me through the dark moments and keeps me moving forward -- ever striving for acceptance and, maybe someday, for forgiveness too.
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