Posted on 36 Comments


A man holding up a sign that says forgiveness
Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

“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!

A man walking hand in hand with a young child
Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

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!

A sign that says
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

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.

An empty chair with colorful balloons-- denoting someone is absent.
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

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…

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope, that the past could be any different” — Oprah Winfrey

36 thoughts on “Forgiveness

  1. Thanks so much for this post.
    It is very tender, and wise, and inspires us.
    May God bless you as you continue your healing journey of forgiveness. 🤗

    1. Thank you Ms Sally.

  2. Thank you for sharing your life story and what you are growing through. You are on a wonderful journey of love and discovery 🤗❤️💖💐

    1. Thank you!

  3. I saw that video and was touched by it also. We also need to let go of any anger at ourselves for not having done better. We have to ask for and receive God’s forgiveness then move on. I forgave my dad many times, but I felt a need to keep a defense up towards the end of his life, because I was broken, too. I’m sad that I just couldn’t take it anymore, but now that he’s gone, the wall has come down, and I have started the journey of healing and understanding needed to truly be able to love others well and without fear.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. I completely understand you on this one.
      Thank you my dear. May we find the courage to make it to the finish line.

  4. 🖤🖤🖤

  5. Really really powerful words and philosophy, thanks for this

    1. Hello Someone, how are you?

  6. Hi Pene, what a lovely, heartfelt post. I appreciate the idea of the 10-gallon capacity vs. the pint-size. Such wisdom here. Blessings to you on your path of healing & forgiveness. 🌞

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

  7. How are you?

    1. Hello and thannk you Ms Tangie. I am doing well. Plugging away at life here. The kids and my mom grow tired of being in the house. My daughter (16) is asking to return to school.
      How are you doing?

  8. So much pure wisdom here. Forgiveness is for the strong, I mean the strong.

    1. You are right! Thank you for reading.

  9. This is so heartfelt, sis.
    I used to have this same mindset of expectations too. Until He taught me that regardless of how much they loved us, they were still frail and fallible and God is the only infallible one.
    Sending you a big hug. Thanks for your vulnerability too. ❤

    1. Thank you my dear sister. Much love to you.

  10. This brought tears to my eyes! ❤️

    1. Thank you my dear. Have a great day!

  11. Cheering you on as you take your first steps on the path to forgiveness. With God, all things are possible. God bless you, Pene❤️

    1. Thank you my friend. Stay safe and blessed!

  12. what a beautiful post. thank you sharing it with us

  13. Wow this post helps me very much, I lost my dad a year ago😓 truly sad for your loss! It makes since as I now understand I am a ten gallon person born into a pint size family! 🥰 This speaks volumes to me, as I felt many of the things you wrote about! Thank you!

    1. I am so happy you get it on the cellular level, lol.
      Thank you for reading.

  14. Thank you for sharing your inspiring life story !! 💕

  15. Pene, this was so heartfelt and powerful. Yes, we struggle with the fact our parents live with struggles from their own past and it’s not that they don’t “want” to give more, they “can’t”.

    I think your forgiveness and your story that most definitely will help others is the best birthday gift you could give your father❣️

    My eyes swelled with tears feeling so happy for the burden you put down. ❤️🤗

    Wonderful post❣️

    1. Yes, we could apply the lesson to many areas and other persons in our lives.
      Thank you for reading.

      1. 🥰❤️

  16. Pene, I am glad you are able to forgive your father. I had similar issues with my father. I know he loved me and tried to do his best, but just didn’t have good parenting skills. Part of the problem may have been that my parents were so incompatible. My father immersed himself in his work and leisure activities. They divorced after their children were grown. I think sooner would have been better. Children suffer in a home where their parents don’t get along. Thank you for this helpful post. i hope you are well! <3

    1. I thank you for always being so supportive. I pray that you and your husband, come to feel better day by day. Be blessed.

  17. One of the hardest things in life is expecting something from someone that they seem incapable of giving. We keep hoping that they will change. In time, we come to see that it is ourselves who must change and accept people for who they are and not what we would wish for them to be. It is heartbreaking, and yet we must face this truth before we can heal.

    1. Yes, I wish I knew this sooner, but better now than never. Hope this helps someone else.
      Thank you.

  18. there is great wisdom in this post Pene and that last quote of Oprah’s resonates deeply! The past doesn’t define us but it does shape us, and once we accept that we are really growing … well done you!

    Bet he can hear your forgiving vibes wherever he is now 🙂

    1. I believe that as well. I believe when we leave this plane, we take the ull knowledge of who we are with us.
      Thank you dear Kate. Be safe and be well.

      1. take care and you be safe, and keep growing!

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