I sit in my bed, listening to the sweet melodies of worship music, but my mind drifts to the nether regions of memory and pain begins to swell within me.
It’s been like this for days, I think. The pain. The insufferable heartache. The constant question, “Why?” This word seems to be my mantra of late. Why did I have to go through that? Why do I still hurt? Why did they do those things to me? Why?
For days now, I’ve been locked in mortal combat with the deep roots of hatred, hacking away, slipping in the mud. In my post from about a month ago, I said that I’ve forgiven the people in my past for the most part. For the most part. I guess I’m still coming to terms with some things. Honestly, I’m not sure what it is that seems to prevent me from total healing and freedom. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of time.
But if I’m being honest, I hate them. Or maybe I don’t hate them as people. But I hate what they did to me. And I hate how they treated my trust and loyalty so flippantly. I hate how easily they moved on when I fight every day to forgive, to forget, to let go of the pain.
But John Green said it best: pain demands to be felt.
I wonder if I’ve been going about the healing process all wrong. I’ve tried to forget, to bury the pain and hurt. I’ve ignored it, rather than let it have its way. I put a bandage on the wound rather than letting it breathe so that it can heal properly.
And maybe it’s okay to hate all the ways people hurt you and cause you pain. Maybe it’s okay to hate that they drove you to feel worthless. Maybe it’s okay because those things they did were horrible and no one should be treated that way. Maybe it’s okay to feel the pain so deeply that you don’t know if you can go on.
Maybe it’s okay because then, when you get through it, you finally realize the truth: pain is inevitable, but hope is a choice. Love is a choice. Victory is a choice. Forgiveness is a choice. Freedom is a choice. Life is a choice.
So, yeah, I hurt. And I hate. I hope and I love and I forgive and I move on. But I will never forget. To forget for the sake of forgiveness only hurts you in the long run. And it takes the responsibility off of the other person.
So, no, I won’t forget. Because pain demands to be felt. And it will come in wave after wave after wave. It’ll beat me down. But then the waters will recede, and I will realize that while pain is inevitable, I can choose to thrive in those moments when the sun shines.