With Father’s Day fast approaching, it brings to mind a profound experience I had with my dad many years ago. He was larger than life to me when I was a young girl, and a lieutenant colonel in the army on top of it. He ran our home using fear to control and uphold his rulings.
However, the purpose of this post is not to focus on all the negative accounts of my upbringing but to focus on the healing power of forgiveness through the sharing of a positive story involving my dad.
When I first learned that my father was dying, I had a lot of concerns about the whole situation, and we hadn’t seen each other for quite some time. However, my wise mentor and coach at the time encouraged me to see him, and said that I’d be going to heal myself and not as a favor for him.
So, I hesitantly went to where he was hospitalized, and upon arrival, I saw a man I didn’t recognize. He was no longer the big and tall man I remembered but actually looked quite frail, and was uncharacteristically, not in control of his surroundings.
Over the course of several months, my siblings and I took turns visiting with him, so that he was never alone. Then, on one particular day, when my sister and I were on our way out of the hospital, I got this extremely strong internal push to return to his hospital room.
So, I quickly turned around and headed back toward his room with my sister following behind. Once inside, I approached his bedside, which she said was like a scene from a movie, with the director calling out, “action.”
I walked right up to my dad and said, “Hi dad just wanted to come back and tell you that I love you.”
He said, “I love you too,” which are words I never heard from him before.
My sister, who was in the back of the room silently observing the whole scene, said that the nurses in the room had stopped in their tracks while these unplanned and unexpected words were coming out of my mouth.
Soon after that he died.
My mentor had been right about my going to see him, and how healing it would be for me, and I suspect it was for him as well. I would have missed out on this great opportunity, if I hadn’t taken the action and gone to see him, in spite of my misgivings.
Forgiveness is a process and not an overnight matter but continues to be the best cure for resentment, anger and all other forms of internal suffering. It is a way to disconnect from the emotional charge that is attached to a certain person, situation, or memory, and not about condoning, reconciling, minimizing or letting the offending party off the hook.
Ironically, forgiving another, lets us off the hook from carrying around the pain that resides in our minds and hearts. Therefore, it is extremely important to courageously take the necessary steps to release ourselves from the negativity and grief that may be keeping us stuck.
A few methods that can assist in this process are:
- Writing a letter to the offending party and expressing all the hurt that we have inside but not mailing it.
- Praying for the resented person in order to get the spiritual help, and courage to release the potent anger within.
- Being willing and open to follow the guidance, opportunities and situations that present themselves toward our healing.
- Talking to a professional or an understanding friend to discuss and process the negative feelings we have about a particular person, memory or situation.
We learn that it is up to us to ask for help and come to terms with our experiences. No matter what our relationship is with our fathers or anyone else, let today and this holiday represent the healing power of forgiveness.
Happy Father’s Day!
If you are struggling with unpleasant feelings and thoughts about someone in your life; ask in meditation that you be shown the way to forgiveness, and be given the courage to follow the actions you are guided to take.