FORGIVING DOES NOT MEAN FORGETTING

Still working on forgiving – my attacker, of course, and even more importantly, myself. I know it seems strange that I would in any way need to forgive myself for something I did not do, for something I never would have wished upon my worst enemy; not that I really have any enemies, but if I did, I wouldn’t wish a sexual assault on them.

In April, right before I left for a trip to Atlanta, to visit my parents, to go to the Masters and  to Saint Simons Island to visit my friend Kim, I was on my way to the outlet mall down by the border and passed a sign for the exit for Donovan. I have never noticed this exit before on any previous trip. When I saw it, the thought that popped into my head was, “I should go and visit DCD.” (A friend wrote me to tell me that I need to stop calling my attacker ‘cockroach boy’ and start using his name. While I agree that CRB isn’t very nice, what he did to me wasn’t very nice and the best I can do right now is call him by his initials.) And then I thought, ‘Whoa, where did that come from?’ I completely forgot about it until my last Hoffman gathering. Well, after doing some research, I found out that DCD is not, in fact, housed at Donovan, but at Kern Valley, which is about a 4 hour drive from here. And in order to visit a prisoner, you have to be on the approved visitor list and the person to approve me is DCD. You actually have to apply to be visitor, and even if DCD said it was okay, the prison system has to okay it, as well. I think my real reason for wanting to go visit him is to ask him WHY? I’m not sure I’d even get an answer and even if I did, it may not be one I want. I’ve thought about it a lot and come to the conclusion that going up to Kern Valley State Prison is not something I am prepared to do. A compromise may be to write him a letter. Again, I am not sure what I hope to really accomplish with this. I may end up writing him and not sending it.

At acupuncture last week, I was lamenting about how long the healing process is taking. Matt said to me, ‘You ARE through it. Right now. You are done.’ Okay, cool! Maybe it really is as easy as that. Yes, I am still dealing with some physical issues that have occurred as a result of the attack. Each day, though, I feel like I am one step closer to being completely healed. Will I ever forget about it? Doubtful, especially since I write about it. Will there always be certain things that are either very difficult or impossible for me to do? I have no idea. Only time will tell.

Whatever the case is for me, however it plays out for me in the future, forgiveness has been on my mind a lot in the last 2 1/2+ years. So as for forgiving myself, just as with DCD, I am much closer than ever to being able to say honestly that I have done it. I am not sure why I blame myself on some level, and I may never understand that. Don’t get me wrong here, I am very clear that I did nothing wrong, that the way I was dressed had nothing to do with it, that I was in the wrong place at the right time, because, to my way of thinking, if it had been the wrong time, it never would have happened. As I have said before, too, I do believe that it happened for a reason and though I did not specifically ask to be sexually assaulted, I had been asking for changes in my life. I am really okay with all of that, which is why it baffles me that I would in any way blame myself. Yet, it is still there to a degree. Clearly, I will be done when I am done. There doesn’t seem to be a way to make it go faster. It will take as long as it takes.

Because forgiveness has been so much on my mind, when the topic for the 7 March 2014 daily reading in my Science of Mind magazine, written by Joanne McFadden, was FORGIVE, this was just another validation that I am on the right path. I loved the essay so I am going to copy it in its entirety:

“After Olympic runner Louis Zamperini’s plane went down in the Pacific in World War II, he and the pilot floated for forty-seven days on a life raft. They survived a strafing attack by a Japanese pilot, numerous shark attacks and a lack of food, only to be captured by the enemy. They were brutally beaten, subjected to medical experiments, starved and worked to near death as prisoners of war. One guard, nicknamed “The Bird” by prisoners was determined to break Zamperini. Maintaining humanity and dignity was a daily struggle.

Zamperini survived. However, nightmares of his ordeal kept him emotionally imprisoned for years after the war, plunging him into alcoholism and despair. At first, Zamperini was convinced that vengeance was the only way to reclaim his life, and he became obsessed with it, making plans to hunt down The Bird. Grace intervened. Under protest Zamperini attended a Billy Graham meeting. He was about to get up and leave when he remembered a bargain he made when his raft floated in a dead calm. If God would save his life, Zamperini would serve.

That recollection changed his life dramatically. Zamperini forgave The Bird and went on to create camps for troubled boys, sharing his experiences and showing them a different way of life.

When I have allowed myself to have something to forgive, I like to remember extreme examples like Zamperini’s. If he could do it, so can I.”

Exactly. If Louis Zamperini can do it after the unimaginable things he endured, then so can I.

“It’s a healing, actually, it’s a real healing…forgiveness.” ~Louis Zamperini