Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to go back in time and do things differently. My life is full of scenarios of what-ifs and could-have-beens, and with them come regrets sometimes. I think about choices I’ve made and having to live with those choices everyday. I think about losses: lost love and lost hope, lost opportunities and just people I’ll never get to know anymore.
It’s mostly the loss of relationships that affect me, because I am not one to throw away a relationship just like that. I treasure every person that comes into my life. I treasure the moment of just being with another human being and getting to know that person for all that he or she is. This world is just so big that it’s hard to find anyone who you can connect with heart to heart, mind to mind, life to life. Everyone has a story to tell, a story to live, and there’s this desire to be part of that story, to be part of that life. And knowing that you won’t be part of that life anymore, knowing that the story ends right here, this is as far as you can go, well, its heartbreaking.
I don’t regret having met certain people in my life. Well, at least I can think of some people I don’t regret meeting and knowing at all. The regret is that it ended too soon, and that there won’t be chances anymore to relive the experience. The regret is that it ended bitterly, and in whatever way you try to work things out, it would have still ended that way. Or maybe I just don’t know, and that’s another what-if.
But it’s not as painful anymore –this accepting the loss, I mean. Maybe the adage that time heals all wounds does hold true, and maybe it doesn’t. But in my experience, I’ve learned that it’s not time that heals, because people still do get hurt years and years after. People still feel the pain like it was only yesterday. To some, the wound is as fresh, like an open cut that never closed. They still cry to sleep, they still nurture the pain or keep it within sight, and they still want to seek revenge or redemption. No, time does not entirely heal all wounds. Years from now, I’d still look back at this particular event in my life, and I would still get hurt one way or another.
It’s forgiveness that heals, forgiveness that gives us the freedom to heal. I’ve learned this slowly, painfully, but willingly. I’ve learned that the best way to heal is to forgive; there just is no other way. It’s very natural for us to want revenge, or to seek redemption in some way. We want that person to feel as bad as we felt before. We want him to hurt as well, to go through what we went through so he would understand. But when you’ve done all this and you’ve achieved that ‘ha!’ moment “ikaw naman ngayon”, would you honestly feel better and would that make you a better person?
No. I honestly don’t think so. Who would want to hold grudges at anybody their whole life? If you want to be mad at somebody for the rest of your life, the truth is, you’re only hurting yourself further and pulling yourself down all the more. The real loser would be you, because in reality, that person could care less whether you stay mad at him or not. Well, maybe for a time, he would get affected. But sooner or later, he’s going to forget about it and move on. And while he moves on with his life, here you are still carrying grudges, holding resentment, embittered and angry at the whole world, and before you know it, you’ve wasted a year or more of your life over something that was way past its expiration.
Sarah Paddison put it this way, “Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time.” And I like a very practical quote from Oscar Wilde who once said, “forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them so much.” haha.
Pero panalo pa din si Jesus. Biruin mo yun, pinagbintangan, linapastangan, binaboy, kinawawa, at pinako sa krus, pero ang hirit lang niya eh, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
And Jesus didn’t forgive them over time; he did it instantly, at that moment when the whole world sinned. And right after he forgave, he forgot it completely, erased it ‘as far as the east is from the west’.
If the God of this universe forgave and continues to forgive, with all the world’s wickedness and sins, who am I not to? That is my best answer to healing: forgive, just as you have been forgiven.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25