The Choice to Forgive the Unthinkable

The Choice to Forgive the Unthinkable.

The Choice to Forgive the Unthinkable

The Choice to Forgive the Unthinkable.

The Choice to Forgive the Unthinkable

The Choice to Forgive

Forgiveness is a choice that is hard fought for at times. It can be a daily choice that can vary based on the morning or time. The choice to forgive does not mean forgetting or restoration of trust in the situation of egregious harm, malice, or incident. It does mean letting go and letting God take care of what comes next. I fight to forgive and I will continue to do so even in the raging tumultuous sea. It did feel freeing to forgive someone who hurt me deeply in the first moments, but in the recognition that her efforts were not from intent to destroy me or to gouge my heart, but rather out of not knowing what to do or say,  freed both of us to move onward and forward.

I still do not have all the answers, but in the letting go of the resentments of the mistakes, omissions, intentions, and events of 27 April 2011, I am free.  The shackles of anger and resentment festered long enough.  For years I have spent time thinking about the why and the people who chose to behave in certain manners or to not be in my life since Phil’s death.  The problem with that choice is that it limited me.  Instead of seeing what I do have and the many, many people who have carried me and chosen me, I let myself stagnate in a pool that would not allow me to move forward.

I am not going to pretend that the choice to forgive isn’t a choice that at times is hard fought for.  When Phil was assassinated, his death was traumatizing and shocking to many people outside of my immediate circle.  In the immediate aftermath, many people were thrust into roles out of necessity.  None of us, not one of us had any practice at loss such as this.  It was the day of shredding innocence shrouded in the naïve belief that certain branches of the military, certain ranks of the military, and certain positions somehow made a person safe from vile acts beyond description.  In the aftermath, some people simply did not know how to act or what to say.  Some of them withdrew in fear.  As time has lapsed, the bridge back to the friendship has seemed impassable.

Other people were forced to say things or do things when their own hearts hurt.  Instead of showing compassion, I wore my air of hurt feelings like a shroud of weary resolution.  In my inability to look beyond my own aching heart, I have anchored myself in a stormy sea. I spent a long time angry that Phil’s parents chose to not respond to Phil’s death.  I spent many hours and many words angry that they didn’t come to the funeral or talk to me.  Only recently did I realize that perhaps their own pain holds them in a prison shackled by the past. By choosing to forgive, I have moved into the sheltered cove where I can restore my heart.  It isn’t important whether or not the relationships are reestablished.  Yes, I will hold out hope that one day we can share the man Phil was, but it isn’t important to my choice to forgive.

The assassin is trickier.  Perhaps because he is deceased it is easier.  I really have never wasted a moment thinking of him because ultimately I do believe that Phil’s death was preordained.  In other words, it would have happened here or there, BUT…it might be different if he were alive.  Sometimes I fight daily for the choices of our government, our allies, and the attitudes of many citizens toward our military.  I also do not want to be stuck in a provincial world view that limits my view of the Middle East because I would be worse than the people who resort to violence to get their views and ideologies out because I know the difference.

Forgiveness is my choice.  I may have to make that choice tomorrow and I may have to make it a 1000 more times, but I will.  In that choice to forgive, I am free to remember a man gone far too soon.  I am free to enjoy living and I am free to let my life be consumed with something beyond my own selfish negative judgments.

July Was Not Kind to Me

July Was Not Kind to Me.

July Was Not Kind to Me

I took a terrible fall out running at the end of July. Both arms were scraped, and my left rib cage and leg were criss-crossed with terrible scrapes. I knew the right side of my body was traumatized, but I never even recognized the unseen injuries that haunt me know. One and a half weeks after that spill, I came home from a relatively short run for me. Within an hour, I could not use my right leg. My leg buckled and locked. I couldn’t get off of the ground. I tried everything to relieve the pain and the impact of my right leg not working, but nothing I did fixed the problem. I tried massage, stretching, the Tens unit, ultrasound, arnica cream, and ice. In the course of seeing a doctor, chiropractor, and acupuncturist, I learned that the fall threw my pelvis out of alignment to the extent that my hips were out, my knee wasn’t tracking, and one leg remained airborne when I was on my stomach. The hidden injury is much worse than the visible injury. July was not kind.

As the fiery hot days raged on, my soul suffered. I have never had a problem with getting older until this year. In the past, I have anticipated and celebrated getting older only as an athlete would. Athletes look at age as a chance to hit another age group. This year, my birthday hit me. I am 54. I am retiring at 60. What am I going to do? I had once planned to build my dream house in Washington state and that at that house, Phil and I would welcome home our children and their children. We joked it was going to be our “Die House”. It was going to be the place where we grew old and died one day—one day far away. That one day, someday doesn’t seem so far away any more and the only thing I am confident in is that I will not be living in my “grow old and die” house in WA.

I realized that I have six years of work left. It hit me with a sucker punch. Is this all there is? What happens when I am not consumed by work and running? It is going to be really lonely. All of those trips and events I wanted to share are tempered and no longer appealing. I woke with a start to how empty my life is. I have no soft place to fall, no laugher, no human touch, and no one to share the joys or the setbacks with. How can it be that I am 54 and the best years are done? How can I enlarge my circle? How can I recreate that dream I had of sitting on a porch holding hands with an old man Phil as we chat in the early morning hours? How can I reclaim my hope and belief in the adventure that awaits?

July was not kind. It battered my physical body and bruised my heart. The oppressive heat of summer bore down relentless and pressing and left me aching for a simpler time, a time that I could see, and I time I never thought would end. The pain of July left me awake and aware that something needs to change. I need more than work and school.   I need to recreate my dream and I need a plan. Where to start? Today, the springboard is knowing that if nothing changes, my future will one day include Colorado. There is more to this equation, but for tonight it is a start. Like my healing injury, it is going to take time and trust that I control what will happen when that day finally comes. It is going to take a full commitment to every resource I have and it is going to take a belief in myself that I have the skills to figure this one out too.