Forgiveness Is Not An Easy Virtue

 

Wikipedia defines “virtue” as:

Virtue (Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετήarete“) is moralexcellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being.

Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. The opposite of virtue is vice.

A new year; a new vision.  Can “forgiveness” be one of my new year resolutions?  Or, maybe my only new year resolution?  Am I ready for being virtuous when it comes to forgiveness?

Over these many years – maybe 50 or more – I have not had the moral strength to forgive two very important people in my life, now deceased.  What makes a person important to someone?  Having a great impact on someone’s life, whether positive or negative, is what makes that person(s) important.

My first husband, Danny, was a smoker.  I hated the smoking; everything else about him, I loved – deeply.  He promised he would quit smoking after we were married.  I believed him, and in my innocence of not having any idea what it meant to quit smoking, I agreed to marry him.

I held onto my anger and resentment all through the marriage; however, trying very hard to not let them come to the surface and take over the wonderful aspects of our relationship.  I know I succeeded in keeping those negative feelings below the surface and I allowed myself to enjoy and bask in his love.  But, he knew the truth.  And, looking back now, I believe he felt guilty every time he lit up, especially when we spent time together.

Shortly before Danny died, he apologized and said to me, “I know the cigarettes did me in.”  I didn’t forgive him then, but I did tell him I loved him – which was the truth, of course.

Danny, I forgive you now, love.  You couldn’t stop smoking, even though you tried several times.

Jerry was my father.  He was born in Manhattan and brought up in Brooklyn, in the early part of the 20th century.  His parents had several children – he was sort of in the middle – and he was a tough, bully of a kid, as I was told.

The household was quite a dysfunctional one.  There was no warmth and love between his parents; nor for the children.  Mother and father separated after the kids came along.

Mom and Dad met in the sand on a Brooklyn beach, due to mistaken identity.  Mom wasn’t wearing her glasses, and, coming back from the concession stand,  thought Dad was one of those in her crowd.  She called his name (the same name as one of the guys in her crowd), and Dad, who was strumming a ukelele while entertaining the group he was with, turned and immediately fell in love.

Long story short, living with Dad was not easy.  He had a terrible temper when he didn’t get his way, and showed it in ways that weren’t so nice.  He was a blot on my mother’s family, who were genteel, respectful and warm and loving.  Try as they might, even to the extent of throwing him out of their home (didn’t want their daughter marrying him), they tried to discourage their daughter from seeing him.  It didn’t work.

After Mom died, his behavior didn’t improve towards his daughters, and there were some spats, to put it mildly – at one point, we estranged ourselves.

Dad, I forgive you now.  You never understood and were not given the tools you needed, in order to understand.

My inspiration for this post came from “Psychologistmimi.”

 

 

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2 responses to “Forgiveness Is Not An Easy Virtue

  1. Forgiveness is a hard one, always. Each of us must come to it through our own heart. This was wonderfully, beautifully done.

    Like

    • Thanks for your comment, Valentine. Getting to the point of forgiveness was not easy, but I have to say, that after writing and posting this, I feel a whole lot lighter. Now I can focus on what is in front of me, without the burden I had.

      Like

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