I believe to truly love is to forgive…
I grew up Catholic and the virtue of forgiveness has always been beaten into our heads at a very young age in Catholic school: “Love thy neighbor./Forgive all whom have injured you./ Ask pardon whom you have injured.” After much repetition from our religion teachers, naturally, it soon turned into meaningless words. I attribute my disconnection to my naivety as well as my failing attention span. I just could not relate. Most of the time, I was like, “Okay, I’m a kid. I forgive my sister all the time for hogging the Nintendo.” It just didn’t click until later on in life…
When I left my hometown in New Jersey to attend college in Boston, I was excited to step outside my comfort zone and live in a new city. During those years, I had the opportunity to meet very diverse and interesting people and for that I feel truly blessed. However, with meeting new friends – especially new girlfriends, I learned that priorities and interests may likely differ.
Based on my experience, I have since passed onto my youngest sister these pearls of wisdom …”People may float in and out of your life and you just have to accept it. BUT if you ever ditch me for a guy, I’ll kick your ass!”
After years of absent communication, my two former college roommates have since gotten married and have invited me to their weddings. At first I was offended, “Why the hell did they invite me? They probably have no friends.” I would chuckle. It wasn’t until a bride-to-be, Jennifer Ho said to me, “I want to invite people to my wedding not based on how often I talk to them. If they meant something in my life and I want to continue having them in my life, I’ll invite them. You should take it as a compliment.”
And then I realized… “How silly of me? I really thought they were sending me a wedding invitation to rub it in my face – a sort of “haha-I’m-getting-married-and-you’re-not” last attack on my self worth.
I did not attend their weddings due to distance, but I have wished them well. We do not play active roles in each other’s lives but I have been slowly learning the importance and virtue of forgiveness. Even though neither of these girls have formally apologized for abandoning our friendship, I understand that people are different. Their actions are different. Just because I was taught to ask for forgiveness and to forgive, does not make me better of a person.
Who would have thought that I would still struggle with forgiveness after years of religion class? Coming to terms with the notion “to love is to forgive” has been a long journey but I believe I am learning to understand the subtleties in kind gestures. They may not be as obvious as saying “I’m sorry”, but they remain heartfelt just the same.
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