To err is human, to forgive: divine. These words are familiar to most in modern culture, it’s ingrained in our mind to forgive one another for wrongdoings. Lately, forgiveness is not for the benefit of the trespasser, but the one whom was trespassed against. It’s supposed to lift a weight off our soul, or our proverbial shoulders. We are supposed to feel free of some sort of burden, free of what’s holding us back.
But what if that burden drives you? What if holding on to that anger, rage, sadness, hopelessness is what pushes you further than you thought you could go? What if that pain you still hold onto is a reminder of where you don’t want to be and don’t want to do? What if that makes you a better person?
Fresh out of college, and high on life, I married a girl I’d been dating for about three years. Both of us young and immature we got married for the wrong reason: we were afraid of being alone. Of course neither of us realized this until a little ways down the road. Our first year together came and went and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Around our second anniversary things started to go downhill. We grew apart, she became irritable and despondent, I became moody and slightly depressed, everything that stereotypically happens when a marriage is about to fall apart. And then the bomb dropped.
She told me about him and their affair. It had been going on for months. It pushed me into a tailspin of emotions. Anger, hurt, sadness, loneliness, hatred. I became the emotional, self-loathing, wimp I never thought I would become. The news pushed me into a depression that was nearly the end of me. I was petting Churchill’s “black dog.”
Alas I was cursed with amazing friends. A pep talk from my coach brought me back to reality and gave me a new lease on life. I moved out and began my new life, on my own.
Are the actions of my ex-wife in the category of the unforgivable? I have been grappling with that question for over a year. How can we forgive the one whom we trusted the most. She was entrusted with the most intimate details of my psyche, every vulnerability I was afraid to show anyone else. She broke that trust.
The pain and anger is still there to some degree. The memories are still present. While I don’t wish her any ill will nor give her any thought in my day-to-day activities, her actions are a constant reminder of why self-sufficiency is the most important thing in my life. That pain pushes me to be a better person so I won’t be hurt again, the anger reminds me of what can happen when I depend on someone else for my happiness.
My life is much better without my ex-wife in my life. I’m experiencing a level of maturity I never knew existed. Pipe dreams and impossible outcomes are now plausible ideas. My lack of forgiveness has lifted the burden of expectation. The expectation of society’s version of normalcy. No longer do I act based upon society’s idea of what I should do. I act based upon my own morality and virtue. In this particular case, there is no morality in forgiving the unforgivable.