The Test of Forgiveness

Dustin - Middleburg, Florida
Entered on November 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: forgiveness
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe that everyone should be forgiven. True, forgiveness takes time, but time is one of the many short resources on earth, and we can not seem to get enough of it. I myself have had the test of forgiveness put in front of me, and I thought I would never be able to forgive, but I did.

I had not spoken with my mother for seven years. No birthday calls, no Christmas calls, not a word. This is somewhat uncommon for an eight year old, but I did not have exactly what you would have a “normal” childhood. My birth mother was not exactly the most nurturing mother, as she ran off abandoning my sister and I for seven years, becoming involved with drugs and who knows what else. So when I received that call from my grandpa a week before Christmas saying that my mother had stage three cancer, was paralyzed from the waist down, and had roughly five months to live, I can honestly say that I was both shocked and indifferent at the same time. Those seven years I had grown bitter towards my mother, and had always told myself that I would never forgive her for what she had done to my sister and I. So when the day came for me to go see her one last time, I went with feelings of bitterness, like I was going to go see an enemy. However, when I walked into the room she was in, all those feelings melted away, and I felt like a little eight year old boy, waiting for one last call from his mother. She looked like a stranger. She was missing teeth, she had no hair (from all the chemotherapy), and she was as skinny as one of those people I see in our history books of a prisoner in a concentration camp. Then, she spoke the words that I had not heard from her in eight years: “I love you”. At that moment, all my anger melted away, I realized that she did love me, and that she was genuinely sorry, and I did the thing I swore I wouldn’t do: I forgave her. She asked if I had questions for her, about where she had been, what she had done. I said none of it mattered. She was here, that was all that mattered to me.

Sometimes in life, you have to let go, let the things that happened in the past be as they are, for you can’t fix them. May 27 marks the anniversary of my mother’s death, and now I don’t feel bitter towards her, because she taught me the greatest lesson in life, that everyone should be forgiven.