The school I work for during the day sets marks one day each year as Reflections. Everyone is required to write a letter of gratitude, forgiveness, or insight to someone living or dead. If I recall correctly, letters to the dead are burned and letters to the living are mailed. Taken seriously, it’s a good idea, especially if you’re ready to let something go. I’ve spent the last four years harboring some pretty deep resentments towards a few people who were once my friends. It’s not healthy and it has definitely made it very difficult for me to put trust in people.
Back then, I was in a job that I loved but was constantly being frustrated by. I had an employee that I was trying to fire who was spreading lies and trying to undermine me. My wife was pregnant with our second child and I was very sick, but didn’t quite realize just how badly. The medical problems reached the point that they started impacting my memory, so that last year is pretty much a blur. In retrospect, I can see just how bad. Oddly enough, I vividly remember the day things fell apart. Without warning, three of my friends completely blindsided me. I won’t go into details, but to this day, I don’t know why they did it. Heck, one of them turned an walked the other direction when I saw him at a college reunion. I was deeply hurt by their actions (a pain I still feel, though not as intensely) and became very depressed. I took a leave of absence from my job (where they worked too) and ended up even sicker. This was the bottom. I couldn’t go back. There hasn’t been a day since that hasn’t been impacted by those events.
Someone told me it wasn’t personal. I have a hard time accepting that. I can’t see how it wasn’t, but it’s time to let go. I’m never go to learn what happened or why. That life was like another family to me. I see the delusion in that now. I’m past the inclination to settle the score. What goes around comes around and I don’t need to be involved. Still, this isn’t something I can forget. There isn’t any hope to look back and laugh someday and it’s likely to be a cold day in hell before I’ll receive any apologies for the shameless way the situation was handled. Maybe I did something (is there something unspeakable in one of those memory gaps?), but 10+ years of friendship and being there for them should have counted for something. If I did something, I never had the chance to atone.
So, no forgetting, but maybe letting go and perhaps even forgiving. We’ll see if I can actually do that when Reflections occurs next week. It’s at least a good exercise and something worth trying.