The Song of All Songs

I'm just a girl who loves; let me show you my world.

On Forgiveness and Pitchers

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I read a blog post about forgiveness last week.

It made me think. And think. And think.

I am no good at forgiveness. Really. I suck at it. I am the type of woman who keeps everything inside. I have the memory of an elephant, and it has the grip of a python. I can never let things go.

So when things in my study group at church turn to the phrase ‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’, and we discuss the fact that we are asking God to forgive us in the same way we forgive those around us, I am frightened.

How will He forgive me if I don’t forgive others?

Oh, I’m not talking about the small things, the little trespasses people regularly make when dealing with others. Small insults are easily forgiven – other than my pondering on how to not commit such a crime or how to avoid being called such a name again. But I don’t hold them against people.

It’s the big things.

I throw down my pen, pushing myself away from the table. His words come down like anvils in my ears, anvils that I desperately try to ignore. My mother’s pithy little note floats out of my hand, taunting, “Prends moi pas pour une cruche.”* It is quickly snatched up again and crumpled into a ball as the first blow falls strongly across my head.

I stomp into the kitchen to throw it out, hurling my own heavy words in his direction, and in hers, though she can’t hear me. 

He is sick, and in pain, and drugged up on meds to fight it. I know this, but it is not foremost in my mind as I try desperately to build a wall around my heart. I can only think: They’re WRONG.

I slam the cupboard door shut, and that is the last straw. He comes forward, stalking me as I imagine a big cat would before pouncing. I see the threat in his eyes, but I take no note of it – what can he do to me? His finger leads, pointed at my face like the barrel of a gun. His mouth spews anger and spittle. A vein throbs in his neck.

I’m sure my own face was not kind, either. I can imagine the sneer that was in place as I listened to the unfounded accusations, to the unflattering comparisons to the foreign exchange student who was living with us.

I don’t remember what I said that snapped him. I don’t remember the vast majority of what I said in anger to him. But the next thing I knew…

I try to draw breath once before realizing – those are his hands squeezing my airways shut. Those are his fingers wrapped around my neck. That is his strength forcing the blood to pool in my face, making my pulse race against his grip. My vision reddens and tunnels. All I see is his angry face. He towers over me, bending me backward over the kitchen counter. 

I refused to try again. I would pass out before I let him see me gasping for breath in his hands. My pride wouldn’t allow it – and I don’t know if it would now.

I was a proud sixteen-year-old when my father’s hero status was forever shattered in my mind and heart. And some days, I have forgiven him. Others, I still have that anger and fear inside of me. So does it really count as forgiveness?

Perhaps it is a work in progress, and the progress is not on a set speed. It moves forward quickly, then slows down, and sometimes it reverses, changing direction abruptly. Sometimes it stalls and stays stuck in the middle of the road. Some days, it’s all I think about. Most days, I no longer give it a passing thought.

But I work at it, and it humbles me to realize that I have such a difficult time forgiving. And I am more motivated than ever, as we discuss such topics as forgiveness and as I read about it on my reader and think about it during my quiet times, to forgive him, truly and completely. To put it away, neatly folded and placed on a shelf that I no longer look at.

Because if I am capable of doing so, how much more is God with my own transgressions?

*A French expression which does not easily directly translate (don’t trust Google on this one! It doesn’t mean “I’m not a pitcher”) – take it as a more vulgar way of saying, “What do you take me for, an idiot?”

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Author: katmorrissette

I am just a girl who loves. Let me show you my world.

7 thoughts on “On Forgiveness and Pitchers

  1. This is a beautiful post, and one I can relate to on many levels. My head was on board with forgiveness for a long while before my heart started catching up; I can’t remember the exact moment of transition, but something happened–subsequent, of course, to many other also necessary somethings–that flipped the switch. What a gift that was!

    Do you mind my sharing the link to a post I wrote about it? I don’t know that it will be useful, but . . . perhaps?

  2. Forgiveness for me has been a progressive thing, especially with that much pain and violence. I grew up in a abusive home. I lived through so much at the hands of my mentally ill mother. For so long I didn’t understand where her rage and all her quirkyness was coming from. She made it clear over and over again that I was a complete failure in her eyes. One day when I was in my early 20’s I was renting my childhood home from my father who had remarried. He still had some of his stuff there in the drawers. I was cleaning out one when I found a journal my mother had kept from the time I was born till the time she died when I was 14. It was mainly about my life. I was suprised by the first few years where she was talking about how glad she was that I was born, etc… and then you could see the decent into mental illness in her writing. After she died I found out more about her childhood that I never knew including a long history of being abused by relatives and her first husband (who I didn’t even know exsisted.) Reading all that helped me see her not just as my abuser, but as a broken woman who didn’t have the skills to parent me. It became easier to begin to forgive in a deeper place. And I think the older I get, and the more I get to know God, and experience his mercy and forgiveness in my life, it makes it a little easier to let go of the bitterness and anger when it does pop up in my life. I’m just thankful that God really does see and understand our pain and loves us patiently in the midst of it. Now I know in a deeper place that he weeps with me when I’m overwhelmed while dealing with that kind of deep hurt. I’m here as the poster child for hope to tell you that it does get better. It’s good to have others to be around during the process who understand too.

    • Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate it.
      My experience with violence was a pretty isolated one. I can only imagine how it would be to live with it daily. I think you must be very strong in God in order to be capable of putting yourself out there and talking about it, being there for others who have had similar experiences. Again, thank you.

  3. Seriously. You are a fabulous writer. I’m now subscribed as I should be.

    As for this post – I once read that forgiveness is always for us, not for them. There’s been no truer truth (is that possible?) in my life than that one. Freedom in forgiveness is the sweetest kind. And it generally takes what feels like a lifetime.

    • Thank you kindly!
      More true truths and less true truths are both quite possible, in my own experience. Especially when one is dealing with oneself. I will keep your truth in mind, and hope that eventually it becomes one of my truest truths!

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