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Forgiveness

For my Ash Wednesday reading, I picked up one of my mom's old books and started to read about the last word's of Christ on the cross. Yesterday's reading looked at Mary Magdalene's perspective and focused on the verse, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do."

Mary Magdalene, of course, had been forgiven by Christ for all of her many sins, not through her own merit, but by the grace of God. The author explored how Mary might have felt upon hearing Christ forgive his murderers. Perhaps she felt, "Isn't that just like him? Always so full of forgiveness." Mary Magdalene is a great saint in the church. And since she knew Christ in the flesh, perhaps that is exactly what she thought at the time.

But the author put forward another possibility. Perhaps despite hearing Christ's words of forgiveness, Mary Magdalene still harbored resentment against the murderers. Christ spoke of that happening in other parables. The parable of the servant whose debts were given but refuses to forgive the debts of others comes to mind. The parable of the workers who come late to the field but get a full days wages is another. Perhaps Mary felt like that - that these crucifiers weren't worthy of those words of forgiveness.


I've been reading this blog for a while now. The author suffered a horrific stillbirth at the hands of an incompetent direct entry midwife. Her blog is about seeking truth and justice and learning to live through this event. I read her cold words sometimes and I'm afraid she is becoming filled with a bitterness that she will never be able to overcome. And I become annoyed with her too. Why didn't she find a better midwife? Why didn't she ask more questions? Why didn't she go with her gut? Why wasn't she more informed before she went into labor?

and then I had an epiphany moment. Her blog is like a stone in my shoe because I have had those same feelings and I have asked those same questions about myself before - certainly about my first birth and also about the loss of Raphael, but more specifically about my mother's last months and days and the way her oncologist totally missed the diagnosis and  hospice care totally ruined what could have been an easier transition for mom and for my sister and me. And I ask myself those same questions. Why didn't I find a better oncologist? a better hospice? Why didn't I ask more questions? Why didn't I know more about her type of cancer before it got too late? hindsight is always 20/20.

I don't know how to let go of all of that, but I have learned to live with it, which is perhaps the best I can do. I don't know if that qualifies as forgiveness. Maybe we can settle for a truce.


My other, "forgiveness" issue is with my EFC, who managed to defraud my parents and steal 1/3 of their estate from me and my sister. I can honestly say that I don't stay up late nursing bad feelings about her. I hardly think of her at all any more. What's done is done. She's never asked for forgiveness. I guess I feel sorry for her more than anything else. But if she did ask for forgiveness, what would it take to forgive her? It seems to me that to be truly sorry for what she has done she would have to make everything right, or at least make an honest effort in that direction. I don't think that will ever happen.

A year or so ago I heard Father Larry Richards talking about a young man who confessed to him,  but then refused to say he was sorry. Father Larry then told the man, "Then I pray that you will experience the full consequence of your sins until you come to repentance." so maybe that's where I am with my EFC, ready to forgive, already starting to forget, but hoping for a little divine justice.

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Comments

rox said…
Elena forgiveness does take time with those really heavy hurts .It just does. I've a blog dedicated to child sexual abuse you can read some of my posts on forgiveness.
Forgivness does not mean forgetting . we can also still have forgiven but still have pain pain also takes time to leave .we will always have memory though ,it never goes away .
I having had 5 of our 6 births at home and have one of my most dearest best friends be a midwife ( she now teaches the course for the province) have seen the danger in midwifery becoming an industry. My friend is called to be a midwife first and formost . God had her begin with herself in her home along with her dh .Then slowly sent her out into the community . That is the biggest difference I see in midwifery and what I beleive is where the danger lies. Before a midwife was a trusted woman of the community .My great grandmother was that woman .People would call upon these ladies for certain herbal remedies too . There is no way a community would place a person who is untrustworthy and not capable in the position to attend births unless they knew this was her calling . Now any old person can enter the midwifery program wishing for a career . It is scary ! I know personally 2 women who just were accpted .one is a spousal abuser . very bad abuser ! should she be welcoming a new born into the world ? yikes !
In a way I am happy we had our children when midwifery was not legalized and not a course women took out of the college . I guess there is a fine balance .It would be so good to have a person who is a lay midwife discerning who should enter the midwifery program .
You know when I first went to a priest and spoke openly about my sexual abuse for the first time he is the one who helped me begin my road of healing & forgiveness. He explained to me his friends who had been holocost survivors . He said some of them could not forgive that abuse was so horrific .One would not assume forgiveness would come for many . It takes time . He told me instead of cousing on me forgiving the abuser , ask God to forgive him . Leave it up to God ! Then he told me to pray that prayer taking my focus away from the abuser but placing it on God .
You know what happned ?! slowly God would have me look at my abuser in a different light . Just ina certain place or time as a human being . slowly I saw that person as a child , as someones child etc. I saw my abuser as a whole person and only then did my sadness, & anger begin to lift . Evetually with other therapy , learning what is my responsibility , what choices abusive people make & my own choices etc. letting go knowing surrender & accpetnace then I was able to heal.
Healing can take 20 yrs and we may heal from one thing but other harmful events & experiences are going to come along . so how are we going to handle them ?
survivors of the holocost did not heal overnight or via a weekend workshop ! Elena do not place expectation on yourself either . His only expectation with us is that we remain open to be honest with Him about our feelings etc. and then open to recive what He sends us in order to heal ☺
Elena said…
Sounds like very good advice Rox. Thank you.
rox said…
Elena I went to the womans blog last night to read . I even had a dream last night my new born was slowly dying !
I debated posting on her blog though because I think right now she needs time & much prayer .
What I fear is her focus is becoming so intence upon the person she feels is evil she is obcessed with what appears to be justice and her family will suffer and be neglected .
I know when we are deep in resentment it is difficult to see ourselves having these behaviours and why it is usually not the best option to point it out to others , but rather just pray.
I feel people with good intent may in fact be feeding her restent in the guise of support .
It is not that that the midwife , medical community should not be held accountable etc. but I camn see she in her victim state is wanting what all victims want . The abuser to acknowldge what they have done . she stated that in her blog she wants this midwife to acknowldge what she did and her mistakes.
it may never happen ! how often do we want others to own & be responsible for thier sinful actions and it does not happen . on a small scale a child steals something . we know it to be true etc. they just will not admit it happened or they had a part in it .
imagine the situation with this woman & her midwife or a victim of sexual abuse .
This is the most difficult healing I think is to get over that the person who has caused harm does not acknowldge it .sometimes they honestly do not know they have done harm.
I did also see she expects midwives to be like doctors . that is what it comes down to. midwives are not nor will they ever be doctors . if we want a doctor for our birth we go where a doctor will attend the birth . in some countries that is at home , in other countries doctors attend at hospitals . I felt if I respond to her I may also enable her to remain a victim . people who view themselves still ina victim state are very difficult to help . It takes much sytrength & gentelness and to know the balance of both
so lets both pray for this woman and for her family . I really feel her children are suffering and all the focus in the family will be on mom . the worst thing is to watch children try and take the pain of a parent away when it is they who need the nourishment and comfort. again I am not implying this woman would intentionaly do this but out of her grief trying to hide her pain and have others help her cover it up .this may indeed be happening .
let us pray
ps you need not post this but do so if you like as a comment I just did not know how to email you etc.
Elena said…
I totally agree that it's about getting the abuser or perpetrator to acknowledge the wrong doing. But when it comes to anything medical be it the midwife or the high priced oncologist- I don't think there is much of a chance of that outside of a court room.