I think I’ve mentioned that we finally found and bought a house. We close today and I’m pretty excited about it. The nice thing about this move is that we can go slowly with it. We’ll have the house in December but our lease doesn’t end until February so this gives us time to do any quick interior cosmetic changes before we move in the big furniture. It also gives us time to really go through our things and evaluate whether we need them or not.
Moving always provokes memories, as you go through items you’d thrown into a box, or find things you had forgotten about completely. Moving also helps you reassess your needs. Do you really need that fifth sauce pan? Probably not. As something as mundane and prosaic as moving can feel, it invokes a lot of changes, especially when you purchase a home. This house now is identified with me. What I do with it, reflects a piece of who I am, just as clothes can reflect a person’s personality, so can a home.
This change and move has provoked a lot of thought and digging through my past as it has coincided with events that have happened with my estranged sister. I’ve mentioned in a couple past blog posts, that I have an estranged half-sister, through my dad. I had only seen her and interacted with her once, more than 20 years ago. Since then, I’d had no contact with her at all. Well, through the powers of my grandmother and facebook, we have “reunited”, at least on facebook. We live in different states, so we still don’t really know each other. But here’s the thing. Both of us have had rough and tumble relationships with our father. He was in her life for only a few years, and he was in mine for about 14 before he left. After that, it was rough. He lived states away and we hardly talked. Until recently. Around two years ago, his sister, who lived in the state I did, was dying of cancer. He came out to see her, came to seek God again after hating Him for years, and has become a very peaceful person within himself, and has realized the shortness of life and futility of holding on to grudges and the past. My dad changed so much, learned to let go of things he could not control, and came to grips with life and loss. Since then, we’ve begun to talk more, and more deeply.
My sister on the other hand, is almost a mirror image of the person he used to be. She has a lot of anger that she has held onto for many years towards him, and has been unable to forgive. I truly believe that, because of her anger and resentment, her life has never evolved. She has been in bad relationships and has been in trouble with the law. Being constantly angry for things you can’t even identify, clouds your life and fills it with negativity and everything that shouldn’t be in your life. How can you really improve yourself and become the person you want to be when you’ve encased yourself in negativity, cynicism and resentment?
Recently, she asked me to call her because she wanted to talk about my dad. She wanted to share the memories I have of him and she wants to work on getting rid of all this anger she has toward him.
This request, along with the move, has put my nostalgia and reminiscence into overdrive. I’ve been really thinking about the past and the relationship I had with my dad. When I was growing up with my dad, he had always been somewhat distant and seemed to always be on a short fuse. There is a list of reasons I think a lot of other people would have harbored the same feelings my sister does, and I did for a while, but for me, they’re gone. I know that God wouldn’t want me to resent my dad. What good does this do? My dad never intentionally did anything to hurt me. He was clouded by his own anger and resentment that he wasn’t able to see what he was doing to me. He has come to grips with a lot of emotion and a lot of pain, and me holding onto my own resentment, would do neither of us any good. And what if something bad would happen to either him or me? How many times have we seen the same story of a family, ripped apart by angers of the past, never to reconcile because of a tragedy that revoked the chance at a reunion. I didn’t want that story.
What I’m hoping for, when I talk to my sister, is not to give advice, but to give her my experience. I hope that when I tell her the emotional path I took, and the reasons I found for forgiveness, and what happened after we forgave each other and ourselves, I hope that she will find some healing. Looking back can have it’s benefits, but if we look back through clouded glass, we’ll never truly see everything that’s there, including the lessons learned.
Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s not letting the things of the past, cloud what can come of the future. When we always hold on to what happened in the past, we can’t truly start anew. Hopefully my sister can walk towards the path of healing and forgiveness, and truly start to grow from the inside. With this, I think we could form a great relationship, and she can find relationships she never knew possible.
To quote a great movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
I hope anyone who reads this, can find forgiveness and peace towards others who may have hurt them, and within themselves.