The past couple days have been spent almost entirely in isolation. I have been reading, writing, catching up on rest, praying, and generally contemplating things I don't normally spent a lot of time on. Still is one thing I am not. I am working on that.
I finished The Shack this morning. So much has been written about it - I don't want to review it. The discussion about forgiveness and suffering hit me like a ton of bricks in the midst of a painful week in my life. I forget sometimes that forgiveness is a process. It's not something I can do once. It's something I have to remind myself to do over and over again. Eventually, I won't have to remind myself anymore.
Relationship is not necessary a part of forgiveness. I can let go of the bitterness that accompanies past hurts and not be obligated to allow the offender into my life on a regular basis. Right now, I am not equipped to handle it. Proverbs talks about guarding your heart above all else. Right now, that means keeping a distance from certain people in my life.
Some scars I will have forever - visual, blatant reminders of things I'd rather forget most of the time. I am reminded of them every time I look in a mirror. Some have faded, and will continue to do so. Some I will never see, but always feel. Some are still open wounds that need time to heal. Until I allow them to do so, I'm just pouring salt in them and robbing myself of the fulfillment that comes with forgiving those who've hurt me, with giving them grace. I have not healed. I'm not sure I know how, but I'm confident that it's going to require some changes in my daily relationships. Changes I have no idea how to make.
How do you explain to those who have known you since birth that you need them out of your life - even if it's just for a while? It has nothing to do with love. I have never not loved them. If I'm still responding violently to current circumstances because of past hurts, does it make sense to stay in that place? Until I can show them the love and forgiveness I am trying so hard to find, I'm just reopening these wounds and letting them bleed me dry.
I am trying to keep it in perspective and remind myself that forgiveness is a process. It is not something that will always be received. It is first for me, to remove one more barrier between me and God. If that bitterness is in my heart, it's impossible to give and receive love. It spills over into other areas of my life, poisoning other relationships. It will continue to eat away at me until there is nothing left.
That's where I am. I don't know what else to do right now but pray for the sound mind and strength to get through these conversations and the gentility to do it without destroying people I love and damaging relationships irreparably. The latter has not been my strong suit as of late.