I hated my red hair and my freckles. I hated my white skin and my amber eyes. I mean, who has amber eyes, besides wolves and certain dogs? And more than anything, I hated my smile. Of course, every flaw of my being was pointed out or made up. Ridicule was the order of the day, and that was the good news. Abuse abounded in the houses where I grew up.
Quite frankly, today it is not so important to me what happened. Of course, the things that took place never should have. No child should ever have to live like that. Every child should have a full stomach. Each child should live in a safe home, with safe parents who love and shelter them. For me, as with many who read this, that was never the case.
So, how does one forgive the past? How does one heal? And in forgiving and healing, does that mean all is well? Everything is okay now? What's done is done? No. Never. What I mean is this. My past does not deserve the time to haunt me any more, and in forgiving, I let go of those who have hurt me, and I place them into the hands of God, where I am safe, and they can be forgotten. I don't have to love them or hate them anymore.
Jesus said, "Love your enemies. Do good to those who have hurt you." Well, I've done that. I have loved them, and I did good to them. I forgave them seventy times seven, just as Jesus commanded, even though they never once said, "I'm sorry." The thing I forgot, is that Jesus was a reasonable human, and He is an even more just God. He does not expect us to be a fool. Nor does he expect us to put ourselves in harms way. Remember, it was Jesus who said in Matthew 18:6
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."
To put things very bluntly, it amazes me how much of a push-over, we often believe Jesus was. He wasn't. Read those words in the Bible. If you do nothing else, read the words in red, just the words of Jesus. His words are filled with truth, passion, compassion, and everything we ever need to know about human behavior.
I have been in therapy for over a year. I have PTSD because of the things that happened to me as a child. Only within recent years has that diagnosis been truly accepted in psychiatry. My little Dixie Mae Doxie is my service dog. No, she is not a therapy dog. She is my Service Dog. She is the reason I can go out into the world, instead of hiding in the house. I lived in fear, until this little ten pound dog came into my life.
I have a wonderful therapist ~ a woman. I tell her how thankful I am for how much she has helped me, while she tells me how I have done all the work. It's a therapy thing. I just know this. I could not have done this alone. Nor could I have done this with a friend, a family member, a pastor or a priest. I needed someone who is able to maintain a professional distance in a warm and personable way. She is all that rolled into one.
The only time I've ever gotten angry with her is when she told me that I needed to forgive. At that particular moment, I wanted to dig my father up and scatter his bones. You might say I was very angry. But I have grown. I have learned that my unforgiveness meant I would carry my father's bones with me, on my back, forever.
Forgiving my past, while not making excuses for anyone who abused me, has set me free. I don't have to hate anymore. I can leave my father's bones where they belong, in the grave, forgotten, along with him. I can love the living and the loving.
A little ten pound Service Dog, who carries a bullet meant to kill, right above her heart and near her spine, loves me unconditionally. She loves her Daddy, her Sissies, and her sister dogs. She was over-bred and under-fed. She has seizures. By all accounts this is the dog who should bite, but this is a tiny dog with a big heart. Dixie Mae Doxie, through her love and service has forgiven her past. How can I do any less?
I have learned from a compassionate therapist, that forgiveness is possible. My therapist has taught me that change is desirable. However a little, gentle, tap-dancing doxie, who loves squeaky toys and playing "boxie-paws" has taught me that forgiveness is more than possible, it's the best thing that life has to offer! Dixie Mae has healed and changed my heart.
Am I perfect? No. But if anyone on this earth is perfect, Dixie Mae Doxie is.