Robert Brault said, “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got.”
I have found that when you wait for an apology, you are allowing the person who hurt you to continue to hurt you. You’re giving them the power to decide when and if you get to be okay again. Well, the truth is an apology, or lack thereof, reflects the other person’s character, not your worth. Your pain is real and valid and should be acknowledged—but by YOU. Often, we feel like the absence of an apology is that of a passive rejection; a dismissal of our pain and suffering; however, no apology will ever be good enough to reverse the damage or eliminate the pain. Healing must start with you. Healing is your responsibility and yours alone.
As I shared in a previous entry, I began what I refer to as a “Forgiveness Journey” in August 2017. In my spare time over the last year and six months I have written several letters to both those that have hurt me and to those I have hurt. In some of these cases, I have had the opportunity to speak to a person face to face. Some letters, I never sent. They were only for me—sometimes, you realize that it’s just going to take a little more time because you’re just not quite there yet; and other times, the person you need to forgive is yourself. As some events are extremely personal, I have journaled separately the outcomes of several of these encounters and don’t wish to share them at this time.
However, at mass this weekend, I was reminded of what it means to truly love another and how by internalizing such, forgiveness might be an easier journey to trek and healing a more attainable goal. “Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you. Bless those that curse you and pray for those that treat you badly.” Simply, the Golden Rule—Treat others as you would have them treat you. But how many of us actually do this? If we only love those that love us, what does that do for us? If we only do good to those who do good to us, what example are we setting? We should make efforts to love our enemies and do good to them—for them, lend things to others without any hope of return, return a biting insult with a smile instead of another charged insult, unconditionally give possessions, money or time… Simply, be compassionate to ALL—not judge any, not condemn any, but be compassionate to and forgive all.
Easier said than done I know. I’ll be honest. The entire concept of forgiveness confounds me. I’ve read several books and psychology articles regarding the challenging subject. I am not its model example. My 18-month journey, while fruitful, has been an arduous one. I question often if I will ever truly be able to forgive some things of the past, but I will endeavor, at the very least, to make a concerted effort to try. Forgiveness is not easy. It is both hard to give and even harder to ask for when you were the one in the wrong. Not every outcome of those I have reached out to has had the ideal happy ending I’ve desired; but with each I have taken away valuable lessons. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does change the future. It allows you to move forward in peace. Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did. So learn to accept the apology you never got…
Even though there are days I wish I could change actions or words said in the past, there’s a reason the rear-view mirror is so small, and the windshield is so big—where you’re headed is much more important than what or even who you’ve left behind. Taking the first step is all up to YOU. Your healing is up to YOU.
Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it’s a big part, and sometimes it isn’t, but either way, it’s a part of our being. Pain does two things. It teaches you—tells you that you’re alive. Then it leaves you changed. Sometimes, it makes you wiser. Sometimes, it makes you stronger. Sometimes, it makes you both and much more. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another. Lighten your burdens; make your healing process a priority–love your enemies; do good to those that hate you; bless those that curse you; pray for those that treat you badly; and finally, learn to accept the apology you never got.