I’ve tried to write what comes for the Forgiveness Project. I considered something on liars. I wondered about failed friends. I am both these things, but neither piece seemed like it needed that much attention. The most compelling reason for writing them was so that I didn’t have to write today’s post.
With admonishments to myself to suck it up and be a real man, I proceed.
What I would really like for Christmas is to be perfect. In thought, word, and deed. (Not to mention appearances, impressions, and memory.) I am far from these things. For this reason, I am running madly through the house tearing apart the cushions, looking under couches, beds, and in the closets, trying to find any last pieces of bravery I can muster to forgive myself. I do not want the harsh emptiness that comes with refusing to accept forgiveness. This isn’t about not saying sorry. All of me is sorry. This is about accepting freely offered forgiveness. I don’t want to smile, then quietly spit the gift back out, insisting it is ill advised and undeserved. The burden of my failings is heavy. It’s time to let go.
For not being the person I dream of becoming, I forgive myself. For not loving as gently as I picture myself doing someday, I forgive myself. For being a nasty, finger pointing, flaw finding person, I forgive myself.
Sometimes I take other people so personally that it short circuits my insides and I can hardly function. It doesn’t matter if the slight came from someone insignificant, if it hits just right, it can shake me for days. I dream big, talk big, then let the little stick girl living inside the inflatable body of me, go hide in the corner because she’s just so tiny and she’ll be lucky if she can figure out how to brush her teeth properly, much less be a truly decent mother, or make it as a writer.
I don’t like to write about my husband. In my head, I picture us as two oxen hooked to a plow, pulling side by side. Not the usual description of love. I know. The other ox doesn’t feel like something outside of me. He’s at work, he’s at home. It doesn’t matter, he’s pulling with me, loving me and cheering me on. The days I do that for him too, feel good. The days I change from dearest friend to behaviour modification specialist with charts for subpar oxen performance . . . well I hate that self. When I’m not being her, I want to take those damn charts and shove them down her throat. Anything to convince her to be human again.
I am not who I wish I was, but I am forgiven and I am trying.
I accept the beautiful gift of forgiveness offered to me. And I forgive myself.
A thousand pounds gone.
Music. Dancing. It’s almost Christmas.
I have never been a baby person. My own babies were the only exception. I’m in a strange phase now. I physically ache when I see a baby. I want to run because it hurts. The chances of a baby from me surviving pregnancy are too tiny to risk the battering of my body. It has had enough, and so has the rest of me. I dream about more children anyway.
My brain has informed my heart about reality. I am working to get rid of every single baby thing we own. It is over. Time to move on says my brain.
In May, I called the public adoption agency. I asked if they would even read the paperwork or were we a write off with four kids already in the family. “Definitely not a write off. I like what you bring to the table,” she said. By the time we hung up I was so excited about the possibility of adding a few siblings to our tribe I was dancing.
We filled out forms and more forms. I drove them in so the mail couldn’t slow them down. The next step was an introductory meeting, followed by a course. I waited for a call. I started figuring out our fall schedule so we could attend the course. I called for a date so we could plan our vacation around it. No answer. I drove in to ask. “Don’t worry. We’ll let you know.” I called in again anyway. “Sometime in August. Don’t worry. We’ll let you know.”
We got back from a long weekend and opened an invitation to an introductory meeting that had already happened. I tried not to panic. I called. I left messages with the lady. I drove in to talk to someone. They wrote everything down and said they were sure something would work out. I called again and left a message with the lady’s boss. Then I didn’t call. If God could part the Red Sea, surely He could get a phone call returned.
Every month or so, I want to drive in and make her tell me why. Then I let it go again.
It isn’t meant to be. I try to accept this. Then I hear about a pregnant girl not ready to be a mother and I’m gone. Dreaming. Wondering if maybe this is the child I couldn’t let go of.
I started out to write about forgiving the adoption worker, but I guess this isn’t really about her.
This aching. I hate it. I can’t figure out how to resolve it. I like my life tidy. Dreams exist to be realized, not to gnaw at your insides like a tape worm. Down here, we take medicines to kill tape worms. I want the ache realized or gone. Nothing in between
I am waiting for peace, but it is taking a long time. If you were running a business, you would get hammered on wait times.
I hope the answers and the peace are so good that I forget about everything else once they come. I forgive you for having a different schedule, and not keeping me in the loop on everything. Sometimes it has to be that way with my kids too.
I am sorry to be bringing up a very, very bad day again. Blame the forgiveness project. After the whole miscarriage, pass out repeatedly, call 911 incident in the spring, I ended up at the hospital of my not-choice. The paramedics were wonderful. They acted at all times as if something was wrong with me and I needed help. Given my state, I found their attitude encouraging.
Once at the ER, I was left in the hallway for more than an hour. This did not feel nice, but at least I got to keep the paramedics. After that, they rolled me into an empty room and shut the door. Here, I inherited nurse primary and nurse other. For another couple of hours they did as little as possible to assist me. By request of my husband, I received oxygen and an IV drip. Otherwise, I was told to walk to the bathroom and sighed at when it was explained that I couldn’t go two steps without passing out. Help bells were rung and ignored when my husband was worried about how long I had passed out for, or about me having a seizure. Nurse primary was rather uncomfortable with the sight of blood. (It made it hard for us to develop a positive relationship as my entire condition was all about continual bleeding.)
Dr. in charge, came by a couple of times, as in twice, possibly three times, for about 45 seconds each time. He was sure the worst was past and I’d be going home soon. It was difficult to see what he was basing his diagnosis on, as no one, nurse or doctor, ever did an assessment of me. In fact, oddly, until I was transferred to the angelic OB/GYN’s no one actually touched me, except to draw blood. They glanced briefly at my face, but mostly they looked at their charts or the machines that told them about me.
That was in March. This is December. I know. I should have forgiven them by now. I have tried not to think about them. They kind of popped out after I thought about vegetable man. Did I mention also that my disgust for them feels justified?
I too have treated people as interruptions rather than human beings. I have failed to see fear and vulnerability, and so failed to provide empathy or care. I have failed to see the people I am assigned to care for, bleeding to different kinds of death right in front of me.
To the nurses and doctor assigned to me that day, I forgive you. I have been you too. May we all have fresh eyes to recognize the very real needs around us. May we have to grace to respond with compassion, and the humility to say, I’m sorry. May you and your families be much blessed this Christmas and always.