I collogue of mine became a close friend in one conversation. She has been dry for years, living after a love affair with alcohol. She was infatuated with the rush of suffocating until she came up for air, and took inventory of herself and people in her life; her effect, her love, her disappointment, and pain she was not letting herself feel, but feeling it anyway. She told poignant examples and drew me in to a story that was for her both centuries ago, and yesterday. It was all an explanation for a simple gift she was giving me for Christmas.
She gave me a stone that had the word “Forgiveness” written on it. It was sweet, simple, and I appreciated it. It can take me a little while to forgive, but I get there and it’s worth it. But she surprised me. She acknowledged how hard it was with someone that has wronged you, but followed it by saying the most powerful thing she has ever learned was forgiving herself. And then asked me if I had done it.
She emphasized forgiving everything, anything, the pain I gave to another person or pain I gave to myself, poor decisions, second guessing, loving too much or not enough or not doing or doing…. “All of it” she said, to not leave anything out, because it all, always, deserves and needs forgiveness.
She added one more thing. It’s not regret, or apology, and doesn’t need one. It’s just forgiving yourself unconditionally until this moment. “The best gift I have ever given myself,” she said, and that forgiving myself was also a gift for everyone around me.
That stone was and is a continuous gift for me too.