One of my dear friends, shared something she heard with me: Forgiveness is giving up the hope that you will have a different past.
She has had a rough month, to say the least, and the timing of this statement couldn’t have been more appropriate for her. She has given me permission to blog about her. After two recent deaths in her family, her grandmother went to pickup a copy of the local newspaper to see if one of the obituaries was still being posted. When she turned to the obituary page, she discovered that my friend’s “real” father had an obituary posted that day as well. Now my friend has always known that her “Dad” wasn’t her real father, but she had a very happy life and did not wish to hurt her dad by asking about her real father. Still, she always dreamed of the day she would meet her father for the first time; what he would look like, how his voice sounded, what they had in common, and most importantly…his story.
So just as most people go about their lives, she did not aggressively pursue the search for her father, as she figured she had plenty of time to find him, and she would when the time was right. She was wrong. Her mother called and broke the news to her. The man she never had a chance to meet was now forever lost to her. She was confused. She was grieving…she didn’t understand why it hurt so much. She never knew the man. She was grieving for what was lost; grieving for something she can never get back. Now she is more curious to know about her father than ever. Should she contact his family? There is a fear of them rejecting her. There is a fear that they will get the wrong impression and think she is contacting them for an inheritance. There is also the fear that her Dad’s (the man who raised her) feelings will be hurt.
The story gets even more interesting (and complicated) as she finds out pieces, but I will not go into the details. She said something to me about how the tragedy of how one can go about planning out their whole life, and then in a split second it can all come crashing down. Such a true statement. She has really had me pondering this statement for a few days now. What is it that makes people put off experiences or opportunities in their life? Is it fear of the unknown? Or is just a sense of immortality that we all feel we have. I think it’s a little of both. As teenagers we have a larger sense of immortality and less fear. So in her case she may not have been afraid to meet her real father, but she figured she had “all the time in the world.” As we grow older, our common sense may tend to reduce our feelings of immortality, yet help our sense of fear grow – in her case, she now knows there wasn’t all the time in the world, but now there may be more things to consider; more fear of the unknown.
While I may not have experienced the heart break that my friend has had to suddently face, her story has made me contemplate my fears. What are they and what can I do to get beyond them? This will take some time for me to ponder for my own life, but for now, I hope I am able to help her through her difficult time. I pray that she is able to find what she needs and is able to move beyond the past and not knowing and look to a bright future, perhaps a future where she knows her father’s family and can seek solace from them.