“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
--Lewis B. Smedes
This has been a challenging thing for me to come to terms with: the fact that my memories of my life are now so vastly different from what they were before, even just five short years ago. It seems like some sort of a trick, a lie even, as it was only in sobriety that I began to understand what had happened to me in my life. . . . For a long time I questioned what was true, as the reality being presented to me by my sober mind looked so remote from the life I had thought I'd been living. I had not realized the full extent of, or the reasons for my pain.. But they are dawning on me, gradually clearer in my mind. The trick and the lie is what came before. What is now is truth. No more fog, no more deceit.
I am still re-framing many of my memories, as this sort of task is not completed overnight. It takes a long time to make sense of a past wrapped up in dishonesty and fear. What I love about the quote above, is the notion of a healed memory. I'm not in the act of forgiving anyone just now, instead I am in the process of draining out a bitter ocean of anger within me. But there are other ways to heal a memory, and that is what I am doing: being brave enough to listen to that little voice inside of me--the one who knew what was going on all along. Going against the past perceptions of everyone else and remembering that little voice, that always told me what was true. I didn't honor or listen to her then, but I honor and listen to her now. She was right all along. I will see it her way from now on. My memories, thus transformed.
In writing this I discover that perhaps I am forgiving someone after all. . . myself.