Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to see Brene Brown speak in Lakewood, Colorado.
Over the course of 5 hours, she relayed personal stories and spoke about her new book, Rising Strong. She touched on spirituality, forgiveness, vulnerability, and her book: the Rumble, the Reckoning, and the Revolution. She talked about being brave enough to fail, fall down, and make mistakes. I have done all of those things this year. I have made some major mistakes; I have failed. And there have been times that I have felt emotionally at rock bottom, falling down my rabbit hole to hell, wondering if I would ever make it back out. But now, by some miracle, I am wide awake and in my own revolutionary state.
I am writing today because I want to talk about the one thing that stuck with me from her presentation, the piece about forgiveness. She told a story of interviewing a group of rabbis on the concept of forgiveness. The rabbis told her that they believe:
In order to forgive, you must be willing to let something die.
I have tried to find forgiveness for my husband and the unfathomable hurt he caused me. There was a huge breach of trust around sex within our polyamorous marriage that I won’t go into here. But, needless to say, it was a breaking point for me in my marriage and my trust for this man who was supposed to love me and treat me, above all others, with respect, care, and kindness.
For a long time, I imagined that hurt in a bag that I tucked away behind my back. I didn’t feed the hurt, I tried not to dwell on it, and yet, there I was carrying it around with me because I didn’t know what to do with it. I knew I needed to find forgiveness for him. I understood that logically, but how does one do this? How does a person so deeply hurt by their spouse or anyone that they love – move past a transgression of such intense magnitude?
Something must die.
In that moment, listening to Brene speak, I knew exactly what must die. It was my marriage and the family (living under one roof) that we created together. It was my trust and my deep love for this human being that I had lived with, built a life with, these past 16 years. It was the relationship we had before polyamory. Dead. All of those things were dead and they needed to be buried. It also became clear to me why I had clung to that hurt and that betrayal – why I questioned whether or not I could or would ever forgive him. These were things I never wanted nor expected to die!
Saying goodbye to that man and that marriage has helped me to find forgiveness for him. It has helped me to make peace in my heart and in my mind with a very painful situation. I have moved on and I have said my goodbyes. I have stopped blaming and acting out from a place of hurt and resentment. That part of my life is a chapter in a book that I have closed. I won’t ever read it again. It is there though, it will always be there; collecting dust on a shelf.
For now, all I can do is focus on each moment as it comes and on moving forward. I can see a future for this broken family. One that involves two people who love each other, but need to reestablish themselves as friends and not lovers. Two adults who are the best versions of themselves that they have ever been, who know how to put their bullshit aside and put their hurt and resentment behind them, in order to parent. Two people who will set a loving and caring example of what a family can look like – even when it breaks.