I believe that in time there can be forgiveness. My family has always been a little different; I come from a “yours, mine, and ours” house hold. My mother had been married before and had my half sister, Lindsey, and my dad had also been married before and had my half sister, Suzanne. My parents married and a few years later had me. I guess you could say I am the glue in the middle that held everyone together.
From the very beginning my mother and sister, Suzanne, had trouble. There were a lot of arguments growing up especially by the time I was four and five. Suzanne, at that time a rebellious teenager, and my mom had been butting heads for quite a while. I was only a four year old who did not understand why everyone was always yelling. I loved my mother and my sister and they both adored me, so naturally I did not understand why they did not get along.
I remember the day my sister moved out, I was six and she was 16. She could not live with my mother anymore and decided to move to Missouri to live with her own mother. I remember her taking me outside by myself and telling me that she had to leave. I asked her why and she started crying, just saying that it was not because of me. Missouri was way too far from North Carolina, but Suzanne stayed in touch. She came quite a few times a year to visit and later on my father and I started making a yearly road trip together to go see her.
As years went by I noticed a change in the relationship between Suzanne and my mother. They were pleasant with each other, they even held phone conversations. I have always felt that the forgiveness started because of me. They knew that I loved them both and neither one would ever even consider asking me to choose one over the other or even put me in an awkward situation. It took some time and started off as them just tolerating each other, but it turned into what I believe to be forgiveness.
In my life now I consider myself to be patient and forgiving, two qualities that I feel I have learned from my family. I had to be patient growing up because I had wanted them to get along for years and when it actually happened I could not believe it. Forgiveness can be difficult, but it can also bring great relief as one lets go of a tremendous amount of pain. For me personally, the amount of time it takes to forgive someone varies depending on the situation, but once I reach the point of being able to put all the pain behind me I can not begin to explain the freedom and relief that forgiveness brings.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.