What’s that old saying about forgiveness being divine? The past few weeks have been confusing and conflicting ones for me as I deal with the aftermath of New Years Eve. Two friends in my life committed a huge breach of trust and I have to make the decision of whether or not to forgive them. And if I do forgive them, I have to decide what happens next.
Going through this situation has really shown me how screwed up the idea of forgiveness can be. Forgiveness is equated with weakness and gullibility. If you forgive someone who has wronged you, you must be insecure, completely lacking in self worth, and consistently allowing others to treat you badly. But what about those people who don’t forgive? They’re lonely, bitter, cynical, displeased with the world around them. They assume people can’t change and grow or learn from their mistakes. Either way, you lose. Either way, someone will disagree with the decision you make and think less of you for it.
If it comes down to a choice between bitter cynic and gullible doormat, I’d rather be the doormat. I’m not saying that I will forgive any offense, or I’ll keep someone in my life who repeats the same mistake over and over. But I’d rather take a chance on someone instead of throwing them away.
This may sound cheesy, idealistic, and even ridiculously unrealistic, but I honestly believe that you can change the world by loving other people. Sometimes people just feel broken, sometimes they feel alone, sometimes they don’t know how to trust anymore, sometimes they don’t know what a healthy friendship or relationship is even supposed to look like. Sometimes all you need in this world is one person to love you unconditionally.
When I met Jordan I was in a scary deep dark hole. I was depressed, I wasn’t dealing with my PTSD, I was miserable and selfish, and I didn’t know how to be a good friend to anyone. Jordan pretty much showed up in my life and said “I love you bitch, and I’m not leaving.” No matter what I said or did to shove her away, she never left. And it kind of turned my life around. I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t have her in my life.
I can’t help thinking what would happen to my friend if I cut her out completely because I know she doesn’t have anyone in her life like that. And it’s not just pity that makes me want to work on our friendship. She was a good friend in the past. This was a huge transgression on her part. But it wasn’t done with malicious intent. She didn’t want to hurt me and she regrets her actions. She has a lot of mental issues and I think right now she’s in a hole. And I can’t help but make the comparison between when I was in that place and how she’s in it now. I can’t help remembering what a huge difference a single person made for me.
It’s really easy to say, “you deserve better, she’s a bad friend, just cut her out of your life,” when your life is filled with loving supportive people. But what if it weren’t? What if you were at a low point and you didn’t have anyone? Would you be so dismissive then? It’s easy for me to say right now that I would never do what she did. But when I was in that hole I made a lot of bad choices. I hurt a lot of other people. Maybe she just needs someone to stand by her while she tries to get out.