Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Bridge

This week in Weekend Wandering, David invites us to write about whether we believe in "Forgive and Forget." You can follow people's posts and comments by linking to him.

Ideally we should all forgive and forget, because that is the right thing and certainly the Christian thing to do. However it is not always an easy thing to do and I often have had to really struggle with this. I definitely believe we should try though.
When I first thought about this subject, a bridge came to mind, with forgiveness on one side and forgetting on the other. Its the forgetting bit that is so difficult. We walk across the bridge thinking we have forgiven and when we reach the other side we are remembering again! Remembering can fuel up anger and resentment and we are back where we started.

Of course some things are more easy to forgive and forget than others. If it is a friend who upset you in an ordinary kind of way, then its relatively easy to forgive and forget the whole thing. However, just suppose that your best friend has done something terrible, like run off with your husband or wife, for instance! Well, it does happen sometimes and that would be hard to forgive, let alone forget.
I have heard of people who have had a child or another close relative murdered and somehow that murderer has been forgiven by a living relative of the deceased. We live in an age where we are encouraged to pay back and get revenge. It must feel, at the beginning, as though that is what you want to do. Make them pay........ get even in some way. It can't change anything and indeed it might be better to forgive, but how could you forget a thing like that? Yet people do it. They wipe the slate clean. Who knows whether I would be strong enough to do that? I hope I never have to find out.

I suppose every one has some one in their family that holds a grudge that is never forgotten. We are no exception to this rule and I did once try to go round and make peace with the person in question. It was Christmas, the time of peace and goodwill towards all men. However we were ordered to get off the threshold or the Police would be called. Well, that is pretty well impossible to solve, isn't it? The contempt that family member feels for us is not forgotten, but we don't dwell on it. I would forgive it if the relative would meet me half way. No good to dwell on it though as it would eat away at me like cancer. So it is semi forgotten, below the surface and that is the best I can do under the circumstances.

Sometimes, disputes simply cannot be solved and the only thing that can be done is to find some peace in the fact that you are willing to forgive if the other person will receive it. If not, then you have to try to "let it go." Give it to God or whatever supreme being you'd like to call upon. The secret is not to take it back! That's the difficult part.
So yes, I believe in forgive and forget, but I am still working on perfecting it! I'll be interested to hear how others manage to do this and admire them if they have been successful!


Debra in France said...

Hi Maggie. This is a very intersting and thought provoking post. With reference to forgiving the murderer, what does it actually mean when you say I forgive you, or something so terrible?

I have a long standing breech in my family with a brother. I have tried several times to arrange get togethers, but he has backed out at the last minute. I went over one Boxing Day to a family get together (it is quite difficult to be the one who makes the first move). Only to be told by my mum that the brother was very disappointed that I didn't go straight to him and apologise! Now I have know contact with him at all, although his wife an I email each other sometimes.

Mean Mom said...

Yes, forgiveness is an odd thing. I have been unable to forgive something done to me by a distant family member, who was subsequently also ostracized from his immediate family, for something he did to them. It was nothing to do with injury or assault, but they could have called in the police. They would have been justified.

You are right. Some things are relatively easy to forgive.

I forgave my husband for a rather big thing, many years ago and I've forgiven plenty of other things he has done. I just can't seem to forgive him, however, for taking the lads on a cycling holiday, some years ago, when he knew that I would rather die than go along with them, and none of them were here for my birthday! I have a feeling I've even mentioned it on your site, before!

KaiBlueCreations said...

Aloha Maggie,
First up pet, thanks for visiting my bloggie thing..It's always nice to know a fellow Yorkshire lass. My Dad lives in Keighley.
I read and re-read this post, I have to admit, I forgive but I don't forget easily.
I do try to learn from what's happened, and eventually I sort it out in my mind, they it gets laid to rest..
I'm not a christian child, more a cranky old lady..lol

I have learn't the words no and I'm sorry are very powerful. :)
Peace, Kai

SandyCarlson said...

I enjoyed your thoughts on this topic! I guess it always helps to remember people do mean well and are doing their best--even when it doesn't seem like it.

Dusty Spider said...

I fell out with a good friend and we didn't speak for 5 years. I made the first move eventually and have never regretted it. Life's too short for holding grudges. I've never had anything really bad happen to me that I had to forgive so I guess I'm really lucky. Just saying that brought up a very old and painful memory. I must almost have forgotten it - how strange. Flick x

aims said...

Well Maggie. You know my story. I have tried all my life to overlook things and move on. Sometimes it works - sometimes it doesn't.

And sometimes I wonder - why is it always me who does this or makes the first move?

Shrugging your shoulders really helps. And finding the good in everything and everyone - no matter how deep you have to dig.

Anonymous said...

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Maggie May said...

Debra ..... thanks for writing that. It is a great pity. Makes me feel we are not unique then.

Mean mom ....... Although the cycling holiday may not have been a mega thing, it was obviously the one thing that pushed you over & I think we all have those "one things" in our lives that we can't cope with.

kaibluecreations ...... well, I'm not a Yorkshire lass! I was holidaying there! A far cry from your exotic islands!

Sandy C ....... Yes, I think that we can only do our best.

Flick ..... Glad you got back with your good friend after five years. Good for you. Yes, life is too short .....

Aims.... very good advice! Some times the digging is very deep!!!

Alan Pardoe ..... thanks for calling........ I will think about it! Coming over!

Mrs. Fox said...

I can't abide people who are cruel. If I've said to someone, "This hurts me, please don't do it again" and they do so anyway then I usually sever ties. I'll forgive, but if forgetting means exposing myself to being hurt again - then I don't forget. Which isn't to say that I don't wish them well and hope they find friendship and happiness elsewhere.

girl with the mask said...

I agree, it can be so hard to forgive and forget. Time is the best healer, I think. The really hard thing is not to judge other people...

Momma said...

Where I sit right now, I can tell you that I do try to forgive others, but I almost never forget. That is hard for me, because once I've been hurt, it's just so hard to leave myself open again, which I equate with forgetting. My best friend and I always seem to be able to let things go if we get into an argument, but I think we can do that out of love.

As for revenge, there is only one time I would have been at risk of hurting someone. When I found out that someone had hurt my daughter at 9 years old, I would have gone after the person and made them pay dearly, but she would never point me in any direction to which I could even get the police involved. There is something about knowing that your child was hurt that raises such a primal agony in us that it's nearly impossible to bear at times.

And no, I will never forget that someone out in Seattle did this to her. And I wish I knew who they were. They would be in prison at the very least.


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a post that really has me thinking. I love the concept of the bridge.

I really believe when I truly forgive someone, it is a gift I give to myself. Not being eaten up with all that negative energy and hurt. It is not easy, but that is my goal, even when they do not ask for my forgiveness. I do it for me.

As for forgetting, that is harder. It sometimes lingers in the back of my mind, and keeps me on alert with certain people. A form of self protection I guess. I don't throw old grudges up in their faces or harbor resentments, just an awareness.

I honestly can't think of a person I haven't forgiven, even if I no longer have contact with them. My heart forgives easily.

However, if someone hurts my children, this would be put to the test, in a very big way. That much I know.

Thanks for bringing this up and making me think.


menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Maggie - a terrific post. I do forgive and haven't found anything soooo big yet that I haven't been able to forgive it. Maybe I have been lucky although I have been through some very rocky times in my life. I had to learn to forgive because I was so bent out of shape being angry at people - a trait and learned behaviour that I got from my father - that I had to learn how to manage that anger or it would have killed me. I never forget though and that is called experience otheriwse I would let the same things happen to me over and over and then I really would be a mess. Forgiveness is about taking care of yourself and your emotioal wellbeing. It also removes another person from having control over your life - we must never allow people to have such a degree of control where we hate them and waste time being angry at them. I tend to eventually be philosophical about stuff. I did a 180 degree turn away from being a very angry person when someone upset me to someone who may be iitially angry but can talk myself around to distancing myself from the person and the hurt. It's not perfect but I sleep well at night and I leave well alone what I cannot fix.

A real thought provoking post. Ta hen.

Nora said...

I believe in forgetting tot he point that something no longer takes a prominent place in my thoughts any longer and I stop being preoccupied with it. That's the kind of forgetting I will do. I don't think that I am in a position to forgive, as it is only the ability of the higher being to decide if someone can be forgiven. We all have to live with our misdeeds and give them a place in our conscious and subconscious minds. I don't have the power to forgive, nor does anyone have the power to forgive me.You have to live with what you have done and face it like a man, sort to say, as long as you understand the circumstances that made you do the deed and you won't repeat it.

Merisi said...

I just had the biggest smile, reading your comment on David's Rhyme Post!
I will be back to read yours with my second round of tea cum blog surfing, later in the day.
Have a wonderful one!

Maggie May said...

Mrs Fox ...... No, I can't abide people who seem to enjoy being cruel to each other, & they ARE about!
Better to remove yourself from the situation, as a form of self preservation!

Girl with the mask ....... Yes, best not to judge and time does help to ease the pain.

Momma ...... most difficult of all to forgive some one for any form of child abuse! Especially your own kindred.

Eileen ...... You are further up the ladder than me with your forgiving & forgetting! Give yourself a little pat on the back! Your heart is in the right place!

MOB ...... You also have learned the secret of forgiveness & forgetting. Well done. And thanks for pointing out that by NOT forgiving, I am letting some one else CONTROL my life. That is something I hadn't thought about & of course, it is perfectly true! All the more reason to "Let Go!

Nora ....... Maybe we shouldn't judge ( not so easy when you're hurt) and being preoccupied with remembering a hurt is VERY bad as it fires up the resentment & causes damage!

Stinking Billy said...

The moment that 'David' enters some woman's blog I switch off and move on. Jealous - me? Yeah, okay, if you like, but he's just a pied piper of sorts and a pain in the arse, as far as I am concerned. Next thing you know he will have his own Harem and have enticed half of my concubines away. Hypocrite!

Mignon said...

I can't believe that you posted this subject. I am going through this at this moment myself. But I really did not do anything to be forgiven. It's just that the other person is so "Poor me I am wronged and everyone hates me" attitude make me feel as if I did something wrong. 42 years old and she still plays the baby games. But anywho, I find it easy to forgive but very hard to forget. I might forgive but the relationship is over because I can't forget. I guess I am bitter to the end.

Maggie May said...

Stinking Billy!!!!!!! I can't really believe you wrote that!

Mignon ......... sorry to hear you are still hurting from the past. I guess sometimes it is always going to be difficult. We do really need to let go though if we are not to be in bondage to it for ever.

Maggie May said...

Merisi ......... Sorry I missed you out. Glad I made you chuckle in David's "Verse or Worse" (Sorry Billy!)

Mima said...

I had a problem with someone in the family, and have managed to forgive, and move onto a good relationship with them, but I'm not sure that I will ever be able to forget what they did, I'm not sure that memory works that way. It would be nice though to be able to just switch off parts of our memory and not have to worry about them again.

Akelamalu said...

Interesting post Maggie. I can usually forgive but I'm not good at forgetting. :(

Lehners in France said...

Great post Maggie, I feel forgiving and forgetting has to be a two way street. I was hurt very deeply by a friend just before we moved to France, I would like to say I've forgotten,but I can't believe how disposable she thought our friendship was. :-( Debs x

family affairs said...

Hmmm....you must have seen Sex and the City because there is a scene involving a bridge that is all about forgiving and forgetting....you've obviously hit a nerve here, but how long have you got? I might have to do a blog about this very thing myself - my situation involves a little more than a family member...it was my whole life!

Lee said...

Hi Maggie.

I really like your bridge imagery. Having read your post I can see what you were talking about on my blog earlier. I agree with you. Both forgiving and forgetting can be so hard when you are moving from one end of resolution to the other.

Thanks for stopping by my place today.


OvaGirl said...

My best friend and I at uni had a huge falling out and didn't speak for a year. And one day she walked into the office of the uni newspaper (I was the editor) and just started talkinga s if nothing had happened and we became better than best friends again and never looked back. I don't know if I would have made the first move but I do know that I missed her pretty badly and was ecstatic to see her again.

Maggie May said...

Mima ...... it would be good to be able to switch off parts of our memory. A good suggestion there!

Akelamalu ....... Same problem keeps cropping up!

Lehners in France........ I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it had to be a TWO WAY thing!

Family Affairs ....... I have never seen Sex and The City! Nor did I know about a bridge! Pure coincidence! But whatever idea we think we have invented, some one else has always got there first!

Lee ...... thanks for dropping by. Its not an easy one this time!

Ovagirl ..... glad your best friend had the guts to do that. She sounds great!

Anonymous said...

This was a very interesting post. I have recently done my post on the same subject inspired by David and have mentioned how difficult I find to forgive and forget. Your bridge theory is very good (lovely picture also!). But the person I should have forgiven has passed and it is hard to let go of the terrible things he did, not just to me but mainly to my husband who's life has been very much affected by his father's control. It is easy to say it is in the past and we have to move on but I guess I'm just too sensitive.

God Bless.
Crystal xx

david mcmahon said...

The bridge as a concept is a wonderful analogy, Maggie.

Crossing the bridge brings a special peace.

Carolyn said...

This was a lovely post. I'm lucky to have no major grudges in my life, and therefore no need for any major forgiveness, but I do have some small things that I need to forgive certain people for in my heart. There is no need to even bring these issues to their attention, because they are long past, but part of me still holds onto a few things that I really should let go of. Thanks for this post. It's really making me think.

CrazyCath said...

That was a lovely heart warming and very honest post. Thanks for all your visits and comments at mine Maggie. I do appreciate it. I've just been a bit snowed under recently...

Congrats on POTD too.

Debra in France said...

I can't stop thinking about this post Maggie. How do you go about forgiving someone. If I just say the words they feel meaningless to me as I still have the bitter feelings I felt when the event happened.

When my mum was dying of cancer, I went to see her every week on my days off - as anyone would. My husband questioned whether I should really be spending the whole day with her!! I used to get up earlier on those days to get all the housework done, would do the weekly shop on the way to mums and pick up nice things for her as well, and get back home just as he was walking through the door. He actually lost nothing by me being out of the house all day. I still feel so much anger towards him because of it, and cry everytime I think of it (like now). When mum died he drove me over to myparents (30 mins) after half an hour he left me there and picked me up later. As we got back into our village he stopped at the supermarket to get something for dinner, bearing in mind he had taken the day off work. He stood in the supermarket asking what I wanted for dinner. He couldn't even be bothered to prepare something earlier for me. I picked up a pizza and went went home. He went straight upstairs on the computer and left me to feed the cats, make a cuppas etc. I still feel furious over what must seem like trivial events to everyone else, but to be they are huge. Sorry to have waffled on so much but sometimes I feel they are taking over me. xx

Debra in France said...

Hi Maggie, thank you for your reply on my blog. I am trying to let it go, but it rears it's ugly head every so often. I am going to try and talk to him about it, maybe if I stop bottling it up I will feel better. You are right though, he doesn't have any empathy at all. Debra x

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Heavens, what an avalanche of responses, you certainly hit a nerve here Maggie. I not only love the concept of the bridge, I think it is the most wonderful picture. Where is that beautiful bridge, please? M xx