This past Monday was an ordinary day.
I woke up, drank my delicious cup of coffee, did a workout, and caught up on all of my work from the previous week, when we were on vacation.
That afternoon, I realized we had not checked the mail for a few days. So, I walked to the mailbox with my pup (who loves “getting the mail”). He always proudly carries one piece back to “Daddy” or his “babies” each time. He truly thinks it’s his job. It’s quite adorable.
As I opened the box, to pick up the mail, I noticed an envelope with my name on it….my maiden, my name from my first marriage and current last name. Hmmm. Odd. Then I saw who it was from.
I also noticed the writing on the back that said, “Dad said you can’t buy happiness”…….should I even open this?
I am strong enough.
May seem like an odd response to many, but I grew up in a very abusive, chaotic family. Alcoholism, emotional/verbal abuse, and lived through days that felt like an eternity. I discontinued the toxic relationship with my parents and siblings almost 8 years ago. So, a letter from them sets off a fight or flight response in my body.
Danger up ahead.
I had to remove myself and my children from my family in order to “save” myself. I would get healthy and be strong and then go to visit, only to encounter the old habits and ways and be pushed back down.
I deserved more than that.
My children, future grandchildren and husband deserved more than that.
Sometimes you have to distance yourself to save yourself.
Someone recently said to me, “You haven’t forgiven your parents…if you truly had, you would go see them and talk to them”. First of all, you are ignorant for ever saying something like that! You have no idea what I lived through. And forgiveness is a personal, intimate item.
I wasn’t angry with the person, just disappointed by their lack of knowledge and the fact that they had the audacity to assume such a thing.
I have found that forgiveness is like opening up an already infected wound, pouring salt in it and reliving the experience that gave you that scar with dignity and acceptance. That person truly didn’t have a clue.
And that is ok.
I HAVE forgiven my parents years and years ago. I had to release the anger, blame and resentment in order to be healthy.
I pray for them daily, ask God to somehow let them know they are in my thoughts and sometimes even whisper that I love them and miss them, as a tear falls down my cheek.
I watched the movie, “The Shack”, and one of the quotes calmed me. “Forgiveness does not create a relationship”.
That was huge for me.
Forgiveness is the act of letting go….it doesn’t mean I have to go back.
So, when I opened this letter the other day, it was ok.
It started the way I would expect it to. Blaming, shameful, anger ridden. Why hadn’t I called? who did I think I was, they even wanted things they had given to me as a child, back!
I read it once. And again. And instead of reacting the way I would have years ago, I sat down in my porch and said a prayer for them.
I realized at that very moment, that I DID do the right thing all those years ago. They would never change, so I had to. I had to remove my soul and my life from theirs. And, at that moment, my decision to separate was reaffirmed.
I told one of my friends about the letter and they mentioned “Collateral Beauty”. How true.
All the pain, the struggle, the release. I see it now…being so far removed.
I called my mother in law to read the letter to her. She stopped me in mid sentence, out of surprise, as my voice was so calm. I said, I’m actually ok….They can’t hurt me anymore.
Years ago, a letter like this would have shaken me to my core and debilitated me for days. The guilt, the blame, the Shame. All because they are so wretchedly unhappy with who they are. People who are hurting, want others to hurt as well.
This week’s lesson is about Personal Power.
I wanted to share this very private occurrence to show anyone who needs this, that if you practice self love, discipline, and respect for your own heart and soul, you will gain strength and POWER over the people and “demons” in this life that try to destroy us.
I wrote the poem below, many years ago….when I let my family go. I thought I’d share it today, as I was reciting it in my head, as I walked away from the mailbox the other day.
I also looked up at the blue skies, gave all the glory to God and said out loud for all to hear…
I AM STRONG ENOUGH 💪🏻
Their words can’t hurt me anymore💜
Be true to you. Love yourself. Always.
You never know when you’ll have to “muscle” through a “fight”.