In the game of life we must all learn lessons. These lessons may all seem quite different, but in the end they stem from the same core issue. One huge lesson one must learn is forgiveness, not only to forgive others but also to forgive ourselves. I learned this lesson the hard way. When I was eleven years old I decided to live with my Mom for a number of reasons. First, my Dad was beginning to abuse me because he hated the fact that I wanted to live with my Mom, the person who left him.  At the time she left, I was my
Dad’s savior. I was the only person he had, and it was as if I was his mother and I had to protect him. I was responsible for him.

Then as I grew older and witnessed his abusive behavior, I knew it was in my best interest to leave. This threatened my Dad and only caused the abuse to worsen. At that point in time I didn’t think about feeling guilty for leaving him; my only thoughts were getting out of there. It took me two years of hard work, on all levels, and my Dad finally let me go physically, but not in his heart. I had a lot of mixed emotions at the time: I felt extremely happy that my wish finally came true, sad that I was hurting my Dad so badly, and angry for everything that he had said and done to me.

All of these emotions were just floating around inside of my head, and all I wanted was to numb out the negative ones. After moving in my with Mom, a couple of months passed without any contact with my Dad, until I made a phone call, saying I wanted to see him. So one weekend I went to see him, and all he could do was lay guilt trips on me. I tried to fight away the guilt, but in reality I believed that what he was saying was true.  I thought I was a bad kid who betrayed her Dad.  For nearly two years, my Dad and I continued this cycle, whereby I fought with him, felt guilty, repressed the resulting negative emotion, and felt I was responsible for his happiness.

This made me resent him and want to fight with him, thus starting the cycle over. I kept trying to let my Dad go, but it was always out of anger. The anger allowed me to not feel the guilt or sadness, but this practice only hurt me. When I turned fifteen my Dad moved to Philadelphia, which was his way of leaving me. When he left, he still wasn’t happy with me and held on to a lot of anger.  It was weird; something inside me never felt quite right when my Dad was mad at me. After all, I felt responsible for his happiness. Now that I’m sixteen, I’ve been fighting this endless battle of letting my Dad go, not out of hate, but out of love.

I’ve realized that my health and wellness are being affected by my unwillingness to let my Dad go. I have Cystic Fibrosis and CF-Related Diabetes, and so my guilt and anger cause me to feel bad about myself, and, consequently, I don’t want to take care of myself, and this negatively impacts my health.  I now know to become healthy, happy, and to love myself I must let go of this anger and guilt, and to do so I must let go of my Dad. I must forgive him, and in the process I will also forgive myself. As you read this, reflect back on your own situation. Is not forgiving someone holding you back from who you truly are? Wouldn’t you love to just forgive and be the person who you really want to be, whose dying to come out?

Remember, George Herbert says, “He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself  must pass.” Are you ready to get past the bridge?  Subconsciously your infinite soul wants to forgive.  It’s your ego self that is holding you back. So make a choice to be happy and discover your true potential. Give in to life, don’t fight it, accept the process, and learn the lessons so you can experience life in the way you want to, because you are your own creator. I will report in monthly on how I’m doing.

Maddie Reynolds