Forgiveness necessitates letting go of the past, turning the page, and moving on in equanimity. It also means taking responsibility for oneself, and for one’s often not inconsiderable role inside any disordered relationship. We live in a world where over two thirds of all marriages/partnerships flounder, and I am often surprised by how often what former spouses/partners despise about one another is so apparent in themselves. I am also surprised by how often people refuse to understand that we are all separate and responsible, and continue to ponder why ’the other’ did not make them happy. It is always painful to see old friends who once had a special relationship, who co-created together, be consumed by aberration, and be unable to even catch a glimpse of what they once meant to one another. Hurts and betrayals can run deep, but without forgiveness there can be no growth, and all too many of my friends do not want to grow, and prefer to be consumed by old wounds. They never get beyond that oft repeated question ‘why did he/she do that to me?’, ‘why was I abandoned?’, as if they were only observers and not participants in life’s passing parade. If forgiveness is about the past and the present, trust is about the future, and all too often I have encountered good people who having lost trust once, can never trust a relationship again. These are sad tales, and make me wonder where are the great coaches to teach us first about forgiving ourselves and then forgiving others. How do we help these friends have some sort of a face-to-face five years after separation not to reconnect, but to emotionally remember what was good, to forgive, and to let go.
Emotional memory is one of life’s great mysteries and gifts. We all experience it, and it surely touches the timelessness that is eternal life. Yesterday I ran into a close friend I had not seen in 25 years. We hugged and then just picked up as if we had last spoken yesterday. It was a special moment, and as with so many other areas of life, I was only truly grateful when I reflected after the event. I hope the same for those former spouses and partners who harbor dislike, I pray that along with the bad, they remember the good things, the diverse experiences and the love which brought them together in the first place. They have moved on, but they can forgive, reconcile and ‘remember’.