The Gift of Forgiveness


(This is one from my private archives.  More like a journal entry.  I wrote this years ago when I heard from an old love after not having heard from him in a long period of time.  For some reason, I keep being drawn back to this.  I have re-read it many times over the years when I found myself needing a reminder.  Recently, I’ve shared it with a few friends who have found themselves in the same situation, and they have said that reading it brought them comfort as well.  So, I’ve decided to share it on my blog.  Maybe you might be one that needs to hear it too.)

I got a text tonight from him. He wanted to know if we could talk.


So, I had rehearsed what I would do or what I would say when/if this ever happened. Of course, I never really thought it would happen at all. But if it did, the Melissa of my fantasies was gonna be a hard ass. She was either going to (1) not respond at all; or (2) respond with a “not a chance, a$$hole” or something equally witty and clever. But somehow, that’s not exactly how it played out. It was more like a “Really? Well, now is not a great time, but would 10:00 p.m. be ok for me to call you?” Oh yeah, hard ass. Reeeeal hard ass.

So, I called him.

I really have no idea what I was expecting to hear. But what I did hear surprised me. There was no “I’m so sorry I ever let you go.” There was no “I really want you back.” There wasn’t even a “I just thought I’d say hey” or something equally mundane.

Instead, it was “Melissa, I need your forgiveness.”

I need your forgiveness.

The tone of his voice had that phrase behind everything he said. And yes, that phrase – I need your forgiveness – may sound selfish. And I’m sure it was. But there was more to it than that. He desperately needed to know that I was ok. That he didn’t do any lasting damage to me. Maybe it was partly for his own conscience. But that wasn’t all of it. I heard that guy who knows me. Who knew me better than most guys because I let him know me. And that guy that knows me knows that he truly and deeply broke my heart. And he wanted to know if it was healing.

So, you know what I did? I gave him what he wanted. I told him that I forgive him.

But you know what? I don’t.

Now, I will.  I know I will.  One of these days.  But not quite yet.

But he doesn’t need to know that.

Yes, it would have been easy to hurt him like he hurt me. It would have been easy to hang on to the bitterness and the pain and to lash out and remind him of how deep the wound was. But why do that? One little lie won’t kill me. I’m going to feel the same way tomorrow whether I let him off the hook and ease his conscience or whether I make him suffer more by giving him a recount of the past few months and how I cried myself to sleep many, many nights (more than I care to admit. More recently than I care to admit also). I was known for lavishing him with gifts throughout our entire relationship. And in a way, this was just another gift. Maybe my last gift. I gave him the gift of releasing him.

And you know what that said to me? That told me that when you love someone…really love them…one little sacrifice for their benefit is really not that big of a deal. And if I had it to do over again, I’d tell the same lie over and over.


“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
-Mark Twain

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