Forgiveness: it’s a lifelong process. I had not given forgiveness much of a thought before I left life as a nun in a protective religious community; a life I had been living for more than two decades. I only began to think about the difficulty of forgiveness when I returned home to a family that I thought would respect me and welcome me back with open arms. Instead, they disowned me after a short time back, for reasons too troubling to put down into print. I became instead what felt like an orphan, someone who was shunned from family events for years.
I struggled to overcome my resentment and anger. I sought in vain for ways to embrace forgiveness and find happiness, without success. I prayed. I paid visit to counselors and spiritual advisors. I did not realize that my efforts to release my anger made a significant impact in my emotional and spiritual healing. I did not accept the fact that forgiveness is a lifelong process that cannot be hurried.
I instead wanted instant results and instant relief. When I prayed, I felt my prayers were like dull bells that God ignored. I longed for peace of mind, a gift I had once taken for granted. It took a long time for me to accept the reality that I needed to forgive myself for my unwillingness to move past my sense of righteous.
In time, I was able to pray for the family member who had caused me such intense grief. It began with tiny prayers for her well-being, and then it grew to the point that I was able to wish her the best in life from my mind and heart without reservation.
In order to forgive, I did not have to forget the harm they had caused me, nor involve these individuals in my life. Wonderfully, the gift of total forgiveness has the ability to release all emotional suffering and pain. I have come to understand that our continual effort to forgive is the dynamic that powerfully liberates us, such that we might live in a state of self-love and forgiveness.
I was recently asked to share 500 words of wisdom on InspireMeToday.com and I shared about my journey to forgiveness. Click here to read it and always remember that you are strong enough to be the best self you can be!