“Can you forgive your father?” the doctor asked.
I stared at him from my safe spot across the room. Was he insane? Why on earth would I want to forgive my father? How was that going to help me?
I entered therapy to be able to have intimate relationships, to be able to enjoy touch and touching. I wasn’t here for a revival, and quite frankly, I saw no value in forgiving him.
We never touched on the subject again, except for one time about four weeks before I concluded therapy. I had been through all the memories my mind had to offer, answered the questions I needed to answer and had found a great center of peace that I had never experienced.
We had been working on my phobia. It had been a good session and I was reflecting on the new life that was emerging from within me, how different I was from the first time I entered therapy. I was saying how I wasn’t sure how I felt about my father, more wondering aloud than posing a question. I wasn’t ready to use the word love and father in the same sentence, but I couldn’t use the term hate, either.
I didn’t think the doctor was even listening because he was filling out my bill at the time and seemed rather engrossed in the process. He surprised me when he asked, “Do you want to see your father punished?”
“No,” I said softly and almost immediately. “I think enough people have been hurt by this.”
And it was true. I had seen my sisters suffer for years and I couldn’t imagine how more hate was going to solve anything. I wanted my father to find peace.
I wasn’t ready to see then what I would come to realize as my salvation: It wasn’t my father I needed to forgive; it was myself.
You must forgive yourself first, for the laws of this Universe are absolute and inarguable: you cannot give what you do not have. I have come to understand forgiveness in this way: Forgiveness is an undoing…and I believe to be at the heart of all ailments. If we can learn to forgive, we can learn to live in peace.
ACIM states “Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you? In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely.”