Forgive Forget

Three Sundays ago our pastor gave a sermon on mercy and forgiveness. At the end, he said, “When you leave today, think about someone you need to forgive, then write them a letter. Don’t go into details and don’t expect a response.” Then he said: “Now some of you might recall doing this a few years ago. Maybe it’s time for a reminder.”

I’m not sure he was looking at me,  yet I knew what he meant. About 15 years ago, Father John made the same recommendation – and I listened. There was someone who had hurt me… and I couldn’t get past it. Although I hadn’t seen that person in years, it continued to bother me.

So I bought a card, wrote a short note, mailed it… and let the past go. That felt wonderful – even though, as expected, he never acknowledged receiving it. I didn’t see him again for more than a decade, and instead of holding on to that ‘thing,’ I was able to visit with him and enjoy our brief time together.

After we left the church three weeks ago, I told Kathy: “I thought hard and there’s no one that comes to mind.” Fast forward to last Sunday. During Mass, out of nowhere, two faces popped into my head… and I knew immediately I needed to forgive them.

Both people are deceased. So instead of writing a letter I simply said aloud: “I am no longer holding that against you.” Releasing what they did relieved my apparently long-held – and long-forgotten – grudge.


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