I finished my re-write of POLARITY (previously under the working title Colors to Stars) last week and I am very thankful to see how I have grown since writing those final words. At the end of the first draft, I was very emotionally raw. I knew what I needed to say to my main character, to myself, but I wasn’t ready to accept it:
“I think if I let it go, it’s like giving her a free pass for everything.”
Jason nodded. “Maybe it is. But maybe it gives you some kind of freedom too.”
And that was the end. Maybe. Certainly not revenge, but only maybe forgiveness. When I finished that first draft, I knew what lesson I had to learn – to let go of revenge and justice as paths to find true freedom from the past. The theory had been tested in my story, and I could see the results.
After a month of space, I dove into re-writing, and while so much of the story still rings true, when I arrived that that final word, “Maybe”, it felt insufficient. But I’m still stuck on the same thing as my MC at the end.
I set out to write POLARITY as a way to process, cope, and – best case scenerio – heal from an extremely toxic relationship I had finally freed myself from. That freedom, of course, was only physical, not emotional. Even months after the final goodbye, the seed of fear that was planted and nutured in my spirit has grown into an anxiety I often feel is outside of my control.
What if they come back into my life? Do they still have power over me? Will they try to destroy me, even now?
The last time I saw my abuser was in November, and I had a complete meltdown, unable to even cope with being in the same space.
And I am unable to forgive. I don’t want revenge. I don’t want justice. I want to escape, to be free from the fear that haunts me.
I am unable to forgive because my heart is still unable to disassociate forgiveness with validation. It is as if forgiving, letting go of the past, means I am saying I deserved it, or that it’s okay that they abuse and manipulated me. And it’s not.
But I think it is the only path to freedom, even now. Somehow. I must if I want to find freedom from fear, to finally let it go and move foreward with life, unhindered by the ghosts of my past.
Like Jason says at the end, maybe forgiveness is a free pass, wiping the slate clean. That’s what Jesus did for me. He wiped by slate clean. Is that what forgiveness is? Letting it go as if it never happened? That is unimaginable at this point in my life, but I know that is Jesus can have that kind of mercy on me for a life of sin, He can help me to have at least a portion of that mercy for another.
It’s not a maybe anymore. It’s a must. I must. Somehow, someway, I must.
And so, I pushed passed “Maybe” for a few more lines, until I finally found my answer.
“The only thing I know for sure is that if I don’t let go of the past, it will never let go of me.”
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Ahhh…beautifully said, Erin. I love that last line.
I believe forgiveness gives your soul some much needed relief. It does’t mean you have to forget, but to let of the anger and hate. I think it helps to walk away with the understanding that you have grown and learned from the experience.
I’m speaking, of course only from my own experiences when forgiveness was difficult for me. I don’t know your situation so I hope my words help and aren’t out of line.
Thank you so much for your encouragement, Jo-Ann!
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Beautifully written Erin. When it comes to forgiving past wounds from relationships it isn’t easy, for so many reasons, including what you shared. Forgiveness is for our benefit, the offending party, may never even know they are forgiven, or really need to know unless they have sought it out. Forgiveness does free us from them, it a way of saying what they did no longer defines us. To forgive and forget is difficult for our finite minds to really achieve. I believe only God can truly forgive and forget. He has access to that wonderful sea of forgetfulness, maybe on the other side of eternity, our feet will tread those shores. Until then, Blessings to you from a fellow believer.
You are so right and I am looking forward to the day I can really step back and grasp it. Thank you for your encouragement, Kelly!