We've all done things, said things that we're not proud of. Maybe we had the best of intentions and it came out wrong. Maybe we had every intention of hurting someone. Maybe it was just ignorance, and we walked by, blissfully unaware of the pain we caused. Whatever the excuse, we have all done it. As I've grown older, I've started to think more about those wrongs committed on my part, I crave absolution and forgiveness.
I had a friend some years back that I hurt deeply. I can sit and rationalize that everything I said was true, and that I was concerned about her life, her path, her children, but in the end... I judged her. I may have had the best of intentions, but it was poorly, terribly executed, and it cost me a friendship, one that I never ceased missing. Now, many years later, I'm mortified that I would ever judge someone I cared about so harshly. I don't want anyone judging me or my actions, and there is nothing about my life that puts me above anyone else. And I've learned over the years that there are some things you just keep to yourself - I think deep down, we are all well aware of our faults and shortcomings. None of us need them pointed out, it serves nothing but the make the other person feel terrible.
I never thought this friendship was salvageable. I assumed I was beyond any sort of redemption in her eyes. I figured, at some point, I would run into her, and she would rip into me. And I felt she had every right. I felt I deserved it. Years went by, and I did see her out and about. She was always nice, pleasant, if a little guarded. I still waited for the other shoe to drop, until one day, through the strange miracle of Facebook, I found myself at her house for a Thanksgiving get together. Deep down, I still figured she must despise me, and I still felt I deserved it.
The thing that struck me hard, I mean really blew me away, was her kindness to Dad. She hasn't seen him in years - probably since my wedding. She talked to him, made sure he got in line for food, introduced him to her friends. It was a selflessness that defies explanation, and I was, and continue to be, deeply humbled by it. The funny thing about forgiveness is: we often forget to forgive ourselves. We beat ourselves up over things we can't go back and change. We sit in an imaginary confessional, knowing full well that no amount of Hail Marys will take the bricks from our shoulders. When you go to church, and you confess your sins, do they really just go away? Does the hurt you caused cease to exist? Maybe the absolution serves as a placebo for the real thing. Because when it comes? It will take your breath away.
Thanksgiving this year had a deeper meaning for us: another holiday Dad has survived. I mentally tick them off in my head, a little morbid laundry list of things I hope to get to do with Dad before he dies. After five or so good days with Dad, we had a rough holiday. He was out of it again, and weak, nearly falling several times at my house. He was determined to go to Squaw Creek today with a friend to see the eagles. Mom and I were very concerned, but as usual, he pulled through and did fine. I talked to him tonight and he sounded like himself. We never know from one day to the next how he'll feel. We don't know what the future holds anymore.