The second I laid down to go to sleep my mind started thinking about forgiveness. Specifically about something that happened 4 1/2 years ago. So, here I am at 2 am writing!
You can read the whole story (here), but I'll give you the short version.
5 years ago we were still in the process of adopting Em when we found out that her birth mom was once again pregnant. We have open adoptions with both our kids and were really close to Em's birth mom, Jen. Right away she told us she wanted to place the baby for adoption and wanted us to adopt it. She later found out it was a boy. We picked out his name, it was going to be Payson, we bought him clothes, set up his nursery, everything was ready for him.
1 month before her due date everything came crashing down and through a series of events Jen's friend told us that she was not pregnant. You can imagine how hurt we were. The responses we got when we told family and friends that there wasn't going to be a baby were all so negative. I felt so confused.
Get this irony- Brax was born 1 month after Jen's "due date". So the whole time we were planning on this baby boy he was just growing inside someone else and came to us 1 year later!
Well, you see, these same people who were telling me not to let Jen back in our lives, move so she wouldn't know where we live and how horrible it was, told me the opposite things when it came to my Grandpa and Jack! These people told me, "Forgive and forget!" "You're just too sensitive, what he says wouldn't both other people!" "Yeah I know, so?". It was just expected of me to keep my Grandpa in my life even after all the abuse. With Jack I just needed to forgive him, forget it happened and move on with my life. This made no sense to me.
Why is it that people viewed these situations so differently? I don't know.
Jen tells us a lie = "never speak to her again. There is no forgiveness for that"
Grandpa abuses me for years = "so what."
Jack sexually abuses me = "forgive and forget"
Interestingly enough it was so easy to forgive Jen. She is still a part of our lives today. As I tried to sleep I realized why it was so easy. We had healthy communication about what had happened. I was able to express to her how hurt we were. She expressed to me her remorse and asked for forgiveness. It came easily and naturally to forgive her and to move on with our lives. I'm not going to lie, it has been so much harder for me to forgive my Grandpa and Jack. I have struggled at time. Yet, I never once though they didn't deserve my forgiveness. I never thought for a second that Jen didn't deserve my forgiveness either.
As I was writing this it brought up a lot of emotions. I felt sad at the loss of this baby, even though he never existed. He will always be my baby Payson. I haven't thought about him in a long time. I reminded myself that I'm allowed to grieve this loss, I'm allowed to be sad. Anytime I think about Payson I never think about Jen. I'm not mad at her, I don't hold her responsible for me being sad about this fake baby. I simply miss this baby that was never there to being with.
I thought about those responses I got I wondered, what actions or people warrant forgiveness and which ones do not. The answer is simple, everyone does. It doesn't matter what the person has done, what their habits or addictions are, how long they hurt you, you need to forgive them. Sometimes it may only take a few days or a few months. Other times it takes years. Years of trying, praying, and waiting for the forgiveness to come. It might take a lifetime to forgive someone, but as long as you are trying and striving to get there you are moving in the right direction.
"I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." -D&C 64:10
"It may not be easy, and it may not come quickly. But if you will seek it with sincerity and cultivate it, it will come. And even though he whom you have forgiven continues to pursue and threaten you, you will know you have done what you could to effect a reconciliation. There will come into your heart a peace otherwise unattainable... There is no peace in reflecting on the pain of old wounds. There is peace only in repentance and forgiveness." -President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Of You It Is Required to Forgive”