I was listening to an AA speaker last evening, while doing yoga, and one thing he said really resonated with me. He was answering a question posed by an audience member, about forgiveness.
He replied that when he was talking to sponsees about forgiveness, and wrongs done to them, he'd ask: "Can you imagine yourself 5 years from now, would you have forgiven them by that time, do you think?"
Invariably, the reply, after some thought, is, "Yes."
He then asks, "Why wait?"
(I could hear the ripple of surpise, and appreciative murmurs, run through the audience.)
The speaker repeated, "Why wait? So you can marinate in your unhappiness, and be a victim? If you can see yourself forgiving them sometime in the future, why not do that right now, and then you have your freedom from the resentment and anger?"
Forgiveness has been a powerful tool for me, to increase my daily serenity. When I accept that other people are trying to function with their own confused thinking and character defects, just as I've done, and continue to do, I can choose forgiveness.
I used to think that forgiveness would just ...occur, after I'd reached a certain place in recovery. That has proven not to be the case. Forgiveness is a choice. As I let go of my old beliefs that I have the right to know what another should do, say, or think, forgiveness becomes an easy choice. It's not something I do for the other person, as I once thought. It's a choice I make to free myself - from anger, from resentment, from Victimville. I lived there for a long, long time, and I'm not interested in moving back. They say you can't go home again, well, I'm grateful that through the practise of Al-Anon, not only do I not go back there, I've pretty much bulldozed the entire place - nothing to see there, anymore. Blue sky, green grass, the occasional bird or deer wandering through, but all those buildings I'd constructed and maintained with rage and resentment, they're gone, with not even a foundation stone to mark their place.