Unwrapping my Christmas forgift
forgift: (n) the wholly unanticipated rewards of forgiving another and/or oneself
Yes, I made it up.
But if there’s a fresh word we could use in our dictionaries these days, I really believe that’s it. So much has happened—and continues to happen—that hurts our hearts, confuses our brains and sets us on a course of playback-and-payback in which we easily can lose our best selves.
The alternative is letting go.
And, as my AA friends will quickly add, letting God.
Which can initially feel just like giving up. Sacrificing more. Not fair.
Unless grace steps in. And that’s the story behind this story.
It was the holiday season of 1997. My many-year relationship with Kate’s dad had ended several months prior, producing enough negative energy in that south-Aurora suburb to fuel a mini-Manhattan project. I was hurt, angry…and under it all, scared stupid. Picking up that big box-o-grief every morning was my right, dammit.
Then I received three messages…kind of like Old Marley in A Christmas Carol.
First, my oh-so-wise dad quietly responded to one of my tirades that the best thing I could possibly do for Kate was to accept what was, and that included her dad’s new girlfriend. Ouch.
Second, dinner with a dear friend came with the company of a woman still bitter a decade after divorce. The former couple’s daughter had just been married, but not before being given the choice of which parent would attend.
Third, I had a dream in which I was shown, quite specifically, the steps to take in moving on. And the first was forgiving myself for having failed at what I wanted more than anything.
In a few days, Kate and her little family will begin their trek to Colorado for the holidays.
They’ll be in my home for a Christmas Eve convergence of family and friends, then spend Christmas Day with her dad, his amazing wife Mary and their contingent. The next day, we’ll all gather here for an open house. Kate’s friends, her dad’s friends and people whose company we three shared more than a dozen years have said they’ll stop by.
What a gift!
Make that a forgift.