Forgiveness

i have been wrestling with a lot of issues since i became “healthy”.  You likely know what i am talking about if you have a mental illness.  i think a lot of “norms” deal with the same issue, but never having been a “normal” person, i do not really know that perspective.

i was sick for a long time.  If you have suffered with any sort of mental illness, you know that it can be hard on the people around you.  Let’s be honest, here.  Illness is not an excuse for behaviour that negatively impacts others.  And illness does not mean i am free from my responsibility to others around me.But what happens when you apologize to others?  Do they accept that you were going through a terrible time in your life and not, honestly, in your right mind?  i am not talking about behaviour that i continue to accept in myself, regardless of the consequences to others.  i am talking about me taking constructive, really honest attempts at apologizing to people who have been hurt by my behaviour.

You know what i mean, i am sure.  Normal people do it all the time.  We say we are sorry and become vulnerable and yet some people use it as a platform to make us feel worse.  Most of us, i think, when someone apologizes, take it as a matter of course, and accept the apology.

But there are others who just cannot forgive.  And please do not bring up the Holocaust or some other extreme example.  i am speaking of a sincere, honest attempt at making things “right” for things we humans do to each other in the daily course of living.

i am bipolar.  i have just emerged from a depression that lasted for more than a decade, and i know i have impacted people during that time.  i was insensitive and unkind to others.  i was moody and unpredictable.  i understand how i feel when others act that way toward me, so i get it.

And so i have been going through the “amends” thing that people in true Recovery understand.  This is not an AA or addiction thing, i cannot simply pretend nothing has taken place and then go on with life.  That is not fair to myself or to the others i have hurt.

At times feelings can overwhelm me, even after the forgiveness.  Memories are much tougher to manage than the word forgiveness implies.  So i understand if there are those people in my life who feel a “need met” or an “emotion comforted” by not forgiving me, despite my best efforts.  Really, that is ok.

The flip side of the coin is me being ready to forgive those who have hurt me, either by being totally insensitive to my situation or feelings, or by being a dick in a more general sense.  i know i do forgive others easily.  But memories are designed, by their nature, to persevere.  So i get it.  Can’t expect from others what i cannot accomplish in my own life.

Anyway.  For some of us, this is a significant time of year, marked by the death of a man who wanted people to forgive. one another.  Can’t be a Jesus person and forget about that bit of info.  Even those people who are dicks.  Yup.  Read it.  It is there.

i won’t be going to The Place tomorrow, despite my love of all things Easter.  Too many people for me, and they won’t likely be there the following week, anyway, so i will skip all the temporary greetings, thank you very much and spend some time listening to Southern Gospel and reflecting how fortunate i am to be living this life.

Forgiving John

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