I came from a broken family and although it was not my father’s fault entirely, I was mostly mad at him for it.
Mad would not even describe how I felt that time. It was closer to hate. I detested him and I did not want to even be in one room with him. Even the idea of talking to him drives me to tears.
It was too much, even my mom thought so. Maybe it was an over reaction or maybe it was a defense mechanism, whatever it was I really struggled with it since I was 13.
For years after my parents separated, I tried to calm myself around my dad and pretended that I was not angry anymore. I found that this was not a good way, I was merely repressing my feelings. It was like putting a band aid on a very deep cut.
I slowly started to stop feeling that way towards him when I met my then-future-husband. He knows my dad from before and we talked about him every now and then. We always ended up fighting every time with me crying. But it was good, it took off the band aid and made me realize why I let myself feel that angry. I was able to slowly see my dad’s perspective as well.
Still, it was not until 2014 that I was finally able to really forgive my father. This time, it was the cure I needed even if I was not looking for one.
I found about the prayer that Pope Francis likes the Novena for Our Lady the Undoer of Knots, so I googled it and decided to pray it for a different intention.
Then, on the third day of the novena, I struggled. It was a prayer for forgiveness for all of those people who I can’t forgive. For those I kept prisoners of my angry heart. I named them one by one starting from the people who are bullies in the workplace until I had no choice but to mention my father.
And it was such a release, the moment I said his name tears flow as if the flood gates are all open. I acknowledged why I felt that way for so long, I accepted his shortcomings and I let myself feel compassion for him.
A few years ago, when ever a priest or a religious person talks about forgiveness, I feel a lump in my throat because I am guilty of not knowing how to forgive. This time, at mass, the priest asked about it again and I felt more at peace. After almost 20 years, I was able to forgive my father- or rather to let go of my resentments since my father did not do anything wrong towards me really.
One of the hardest thing for me to do was to forgive him. I don’t know why I nursed that wound for so long. I guess back then, it was the only way for me not to feel guilty for contributing in our family’s break up.
I tried so many things to really learn how to forgive because I knew that the real person who was hurt in all of it is the one who cannot forgive.
Maybe, there are things that we really cannot do by ourselves. Things that need a holy intervention. No self-help book, counselling, medication or even time can do it without the grace of God.
Only prayer, an honest and sincere prayer, helped mend my brokeness.
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