True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience”-Oprah Winfrey
I walked out of Spring’s home and never returned to live with her again. However, I did continue on having a relationship with her and Amber. I know, I know ya’ll, stop yelling why. Like I said in ‘’Humming Birds in Spring”, I had already carved out a place in my heart for Spring and Amber is still my sister. So, they were both present at my High School graduation, wedding and made hospital visits to see both of my children when they were born.
It wasn’t until shortly after the birth of my youngest child, that Spring and Amber cut off all communication with me, Margert and our Father. Basically, I loaned Amber money for college books and she agreed to pay me back when her grant money come in. Spring took Amber’s money when it came in and would not let her pay me back. At the time Christmas was near, I was in school full time and Mr. Ex was the only one working.
Of course ,I called Margert to literally cry to her about what happened. Margert called Spring to confront her about the situation and an argument broke out. Spring called me and told me she is never speaking to Margert again and she would pay me my money in payments. Needless to say, I never received one red cent and I never heard from Spring or Amber again.
Amber even went as far as to have her last name changed to Spring’s maiden name. Margert, our father and I have all tried to reach out to Amber and we all got either no response or nasty, rude and untrue assumptions about our lives. Although our Father has not physically talked to Amber, Spring still manages to contact him to pass along Amber’s nasty messages along with a request for money. Even our Eric (whom has only met Amber once in person when they were teens) tried to reach out to Amber but, Spring turned him down and wouldn’t even put Amber on the phone.
Now with all of that said, I sit before you here today and tell you that I have truly forgiven them both.
Forgiveness is most defiantly not an easy task especially when there us some form of abuse. Abuse at the hands of a parental figure at that. However, it is necessary for not only personal growth but, also for the people that are connected to that will receive the influence of your emotional state of mind.
Now no one has the magic formula to forgiveness. There is no universal step-by-step guide to pass along to you. However, there are 3 basic step I took to complete this journey.
Step 1: Find The Lesson
As being a new mother with very little guidance, I often reflected back on my time living in different homes. I had to look back for anything thing that proved to be helpful in parenting. When reflecting on my time living with Spring, I had to sift through a lot of hurt to pull out the good. However, when I did reach the good there were a lot of great things there.
The importance of education, diversity and respect were the obvious lessons. Some of the other lessons such as; disciple, were a little hard to see the forest for the trees with. I literally had to use reverse physiology on myself. When I did, I was able to learn that children remember the hurt and pain well into their adult years whether they admit it or not. I learned that words are as hurtful as physical pain. Most importantly, I learned the difference between abuse and discipline
A child’s mind is a field of soil waiting for the parents to plant the seeds of knowledge, guidance and love. Yeah, once I dug deep, I was able to find that lesson. I applied all of that to my parenting.
I actually took the time to listen to my children when they speak and consider their feelings. I allowed them to respectfully express themselves. I was always cautious of the seeds I planted in them and the seeds others attempted to plant. Always giving my children the raw truth as to weed out the negative limiting seeds and nurture the good and positive. Always expressing the importance of their relationship with each other.
Finding the lesson in the hurt and pain was the catalyst for my forgiveness. It softens my heart because in the end I was glad that I went through it so my children would not have to. My pain was my ultimate parenting lesson.
Step 2: Confront Your Past
What’s the point in confronting someone who you know will never acknowledge their wrong doing? Well, If acknowledgement was what I was looking for, then nothing. However, I wasn’t seeking acknowledgement or an apology. Actually, I wasn’t seeking anything from Spring when I confronted her with the past.
What I wanted was completely selfish. I wanted to confront my past to unload all the hurt that was following me. The best was for me to do that was to go right to the pain.
Once, I reached the point where I felt confidantent enough to confront Spring, I did so with Mr. Ex by myside for emotional support. My approach was to be as non-confrontational as possible. I started the conversation by casually reminiscing on the past which lead to the poem that she wrote for Margert and I. I simply asked her if she mean what she said in the poem. She answered, “Of course!”, like she was genuinely taken back by the question.
So, I asked “If you did then why did you beat me so bad all the time?”. I proceeded to go over some of my most memorable beatings and hurtful events. No lie, she had the most blank expression still to this day that I have ever seen. She insisted that not only did she never beat me, she never even spanked me.
After that, I was the one left giving the blank expression. All the while, Spring went into this whole spill about how she treated us like her own and gave us her all. She said we should be grateful that she ever agreed to take us in.
Nope, not this time. I started going over the many emotional events and beatings that she put me through. For a while everyone was talking, and nobody was listening but, then she suddenly stopped. I had the floor and she seemed to be actually listening. I said everything my heart had ever desired to say to her. That did include me saying thank you for all the great she did show me. Thank you for pushing me beyond the limits I had set for myself and the lessons it taught me.
After all was said and done, Spring looked me in my eyes and said “Manosha, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Nothing I did was to hurt you. I loved ya’ll”….
Step 3: Let Go and Let God
I never brought the subject up to Spring again but, we were able to continue on speaking to one another. I truly forgave her for all of the hurt from the past. Why? Because, as soon as she made her final statement to me on the subject, I knew something mentally was wrong with her. She still needed to forgive the hurt in her past.
See, during that confrontation, when Spring was rambling on about how good she was to us, she also talked about how she had worst whooping’s. She felt that what she did was nothing compared to what she got. Nobody was there to rescue her. She survived, and in her mind, she was a better person for it. She didn’t break the cycle, she repeated it. If she did apologize it wouldn’t have been worth anything because it wouldn’t be sincere.
I let go of my hurt and pain and left it there that day. I let go and prayed that God would give Spring and Amber what they needed to let go of their own hurt and pain. For God to allow them to be chain breakers as he has allowed me to be.
Shortly after, we all had the fall out that caused Spring and Amber to stop speaking to everyone on my father’s side. I do respect myself and worth so, I stopped reaching out but, remain open to future contact. I have not spoken to either one in 15 years. When the time is right, God will bring us back together. In the meantime, I can look forward and capture the beauty of life while walking along my journey. I can see the forest and the trees.