“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you” — Lewis B Smedes
Today is my father’s birthday. Had he lived he would have been 74 years old. He died less than three months ago.
We did not have the best relationship. I saw him as an irresponsible parent even on his best days.
I will never know what burdens my father carried from his childhood, but today begins my process of forgiveness. Today I journey the road to forgiving the man who was my father!
My aha moment while watching a podcast about Oprah’s relationship with her mother. Per her words, she saw her mother as a stranger who never took the time to know her and was really only interested in her once she began to make a name for herself.
She had a meeting with TD Jakes and he introduced the concept below.
Reverend TD Jakes’ words resonated very deeply within me and my “aha” moment was born. He posits that some of us are “ ten-gallon” people born into families of people with “pint-sized” capacities.
These “pint-sized” capable people could be giving us their “all” but we cannot appreciate it because we are “ten-gallon” people. As a “ten-gallon” person you give and expect to receive everything back on a “ten-gallon” level. That will never happen!
This for me was a profound moment…brought tears to my eyes and an instant understanding to my soul.
I get it now…forever wondering why I felt like a stranger in the family I had been born into. Forever feeling like I was always giving everything but getting minuscule returns on my emotional investments.
The “aha” moment!
He went on to say that we must realize that parents were broken when we got them …
We think with our young minds that our parents should fit perfectly in whatever mold we have placed them into. We never think of our parents as people apart and separate from ourselves.
We do not understand parents existed before us and for themselves. I came to really understand through his words that parents are simply people — people who may be earnestly giving us their “ALL” … though, unfortunately not measuring up.
I began to see my father as a real human person, separate in his own right from the children he fathered. I understand that he was broken when I got him and unfortunately for all concerned he stayed broken.
I wish had this epiphany before he died so that I could model this new awakening. I would thank him for being my father and for always making every effort to connect, though on some occasions I rejected him.
I understand now that that was all he knew, and no matter his failings he always tried to stay in contact with all his children.
So today, happy birthday to you my father.
I wish I knew better then.
Now I understand, you did all YOU knew to do and you gave ALL that was within your capacity to give.
If your parent is alive, make every effort to see them as a human soul flawed and broken.
Realize they gave you all that THEY knew how to give and take that first step towards acceptance and forgiveness.
Do not wait for it to be too late.
Say it while they still can hear you and bring some peace to that broken human God gave to parent you and later for you to parent.
Be blessed and enlightened as you ponder the quote below…