I don’t typically watch Oprah. Not that I don’t love her show – I can’t say that I love “her” because her over-bearing attitude really gets on my nerves most days – but I am normally at work at 4pm Central on a weekday. Today, I happened to have issues of my own, and I was home a little early. So I tuned in (after searching the digital cable listing to make sure I wasn’t missing anything like NCIS or Law & Order).
She had this amazing man whose wife and son were murdered… by his other son. It was a horrific story of loss – actually by both this father and his living son: the killer. The son was a difficult read – he seemed torn between remorse and justifying his actions because he never felt loved or understood in his family. Obviously the father was still dealing with a fair amount of grief, but he was very composed on the stage. We learn that his calm demeanor is due to the fact that he has forgiven his son. This father has actually forgiven his son for taking away his family.
I don’t know how to process that kind of emotion, or rational response to such an irrationally terrible situation. But this guy has done it, and he seems to be honestly at peace with the situation.
Forgiveness is qualified not as a way for evil actions to be condoned, but as a way for the poison of hatred to be released from the offended party. It makes sense, and seems pretty simple. But could anything be less simple, really? How do you let that go?
I’ll admit, it put a few things in perspective for me. I need to let some anger go – especially in regards to my family and some long-strained relationships there. According to the father on this particular Oprah show, it will only make me feel better. And I really, really want to feel better.
But I also have this feeling of resentment because I am always being the “bigger person” where my family is concerned. I always am the one to put myself out there, to forgive and forget (I suppose) and to walk on broken eggshells to hope a difficult situation will go away without conflict. Which, in my family, means an unnaturally long-term silent treatment.
I’m thinking about it, though. As long as forgiveness doesn’t mean I can’t yell later on if I want to!