Sunday, September 03, 2017
1000. #BlogElul 10: Forgive
There's one person in my life I need to forgive. I've been trying to do this for the past 5 years; I have not yet succeeded. We grew up together, and she was like a sister to me. Throughout the years and the ordinary markers of life and loss—loved ones dying, boyfriends moving on (or vice versa), friends (or me) changing—I was certain, in the deepest part of my soul, that she'd always be there. I imagined us approaching 100, in rocking chairs on a porch somewhere in the woods (never mind that we were both city people to the core; fantasies are not rational), laughing hysterically at that thing we did at 15.
I was so invested in our permanence that I chose to ignore signs that, in any other friendship, would send me running. For years I made excuses: she's going through a rough patch; despite [fill in the blank], she really does have a big heart; as soon as she [fill in the blank], she'll start acting normal. When I brought up these issues, I'd be either dismissed or assured that everything was under control. She told me she hated emotions. We argued; I thought we made up, but wasn't sure. She talked a lot, but said nothing.
And then she got sick, and I was worried and offered to help, and she stopped talking to me. I understand the trauma of illness; I waited, and waited some more. I reached out. I learned from a mutual friend that she had instructed everyone not to tell me if she was dead or alive. I felt like I had been stabbed, and was on the way to being dead. I reached out again and again, gently, then forcefully. No response. I'd been unfriended, on Facebook and everywhere else, as if our past had simply ceased to exist.
I wallowed in anger, hurt, guilt, and grief for quite some time, but slowly came to understand the extent of her damage, and I that I'd known about it for quite some time. I just didn't want to see it. Even more slowly, I inched toward forgiveness. I'm not there yet, but every Elul brings me closer. I really want to remember how much I once loved her, and be able to recall those times with joy. Besides, the other, less pleasant emotions just take up too much energy, and I know that carrying their weight is a choice. I want to be able to take the other road, toward love and compassion.