Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Sunday Thoughts: On Forgiveness

with 10 comments

We all go through moments in this life where we wonder, “What is the point?” Especially when we’re on the outs with people we feel close to and care about, as not getting along with loved ones makes everything seem pointless and unfulfilling.

“But Barb,” you protest. “Your post is supposed to be about forgiveness. How on Earth does this relate?”

I’m getting there, I promise. But this may take a while. (Settle in with a cup of coffee, or tea, or some sort of beverage of your choice.)

Recently, I’ve reconnected with an old friend I’d been estranged from for quite some time. Life took us in different directions. It was hard to talk with this friend for a while, though I did keep trying; on my friend’s part, I think it was difficult to keep trying, and eventually, communication just stopped.

I often wondered what the point was, after this happened. Because this friend was quite close to me, and was one of the few folks I felt understood me. It was difficult for me to do without this friendship. And it was frustrating not to know what was going on with this friend, as I truly did care — and, obviously, considering the recent reconciliation, still do.

It turned out that there were miscommunications between us that drove a wedge into the friendship. And those had to be talked out so we could move forward. Which led to inertia, which led to…pointlessness, I guess, at least on my part.

But over the time of the estrangement, I learned how to forgive myself for this. I can’t be everything to everyone, as much as I’d like to some days; I can only be myself.

And I forgave my friend, too, because I understood — as best I could, anyway — what led my friend to make their decisions. (Yes, I’m using singular “they” today. My editorial side doesn’t like that much, but I’m getting used to it.) I understood what was going on with them and I knew what had happened to get them to this point. So forgiveness was a must, a moral imperative…or, at least, the best way to live with myself and the end of this estrangement.

But saying that is easy. It took two solid years for me to process all this, and to get through it; it also took two solid years for my friend to process all this, and to get through it, before we could attempt to repair our friendship and move forward again.

And those two years were not easy. Not for me. And, I suspect, not for them either.

I know I am fallible, mortal, have my biases and quirks and habits; I do try to get past these things, but I still have them, and some days I am much more limited by them than on others.

I also know that my friend is just as fallible and mortal as I; they have their biases and quirks and habits, too. And I suspect they try hard to get past these things, but still have them, and some days are better than others in dealing with it all, too.

All of that led to what I like to call “the road to reconciliation.”

It’s not an easy road. It sometimes can be a damned hard road, in fact; your feelings get shoved in your face, by yourself, and you have to figure out what you’re going to do about it. You’ve been hurt before, and you don’t want to get hurt again…all of these things are natural and normal thoughts, but they are also self-limiting, not to mention frustrating.

But forgiveness makes the most sense, to me. I still care about my friend. I want to know what happens to them. I want to try to help in whatever ways I can, without damaging myself, to help them enjoy life a little better and to know that they are valued and understood no matter how imperfect or flawed.

Personally, I think we gain value from our imperfections, not to mention our flaws. But they are not always easy to deal with. (Oh, no. That would be far too easy.)

Anyway, I also continue to work on the idea of forgiveness of the self for getting to this point. I’m not a perfect person; far from it. (Then again, no one is.) There are things in the past — and not just in the context of this friendship — that I wish I’d done better, or differently.

That said, I have learned from my mistakes. I’ve drawn value from my imperfections, as best I can. And I’ve tried to husband wisdom from all of it, and be a better friend because of it, while realizing that life is a process and a choice as much as it is about your circumstances beyond your control and what you do about them.

So, those are my thoughts on forgiveness, both of the self and others, for today. What’s on your mind, and what did you think of this blog? Let me know in the comments!

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 14, 2020 at 2:38 pm

10 Responses

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  1. Glad you shared this. I’m in the thinking/processing stages of a similar situation. I am a highly sensitive person – I feel things deeply and think them through long and hard. It takes time to process emotions and thoughts. Once I know what to do, I do it and rarely look back. It’s good to know healing can take place despite the isolation and misunderstanding.

    Kayelle Allen

    June 14, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    • It can, Kayelle. It just takes time, providing you’re both willing to try and keep on trying.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 14, 2020 at 10:28 pm

  2. Reblogged this on Likamarie's Blog.


    June 15, 2020 at 5:12 pm

  3. One of the most difficult things to do is to forgive someone who never asked to be forgiven. In some cases, it can be done, yet I think often, to forgive one’s self is most important, because we have a tendency to either not understand where we might have gone wrong and also in the fact that we may blame ourselves, too.

    In other cases, where forgiving someone just isn’t feasible or viable, chalking it up to “it is what it is” and letting it go may be the best option. I say this simply because some situations are just plain inexcusable, not to be compromised at all, and when somethings don’t change, leaving it/them in your past is the best option. When you learn, you grow. That is good.


    June 15, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    • Yeah. I understand that, Lika. (And thanks for the reblog.)

      The thing is, if someone asks for forgiveness, even obliquely, and it can be given, I try to give it. It’s a one-shot deal, though…does that make any sense?

      Barb Caffrey

      June 15, 2020 at 6:55 pm

  4. A very thoughtful post Barb, the messages of which I will have to take on board and remember, for I am cursed with the ability to carry a grudge on and on and on, even when knowing it’s wrong. Not pleased with that.


    June 17, 2020 at 10:09 am

    • Well, we all have our quirks, Roger. 🙂 They don’t make us any lesser, providing we know we have ’em.

      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

      As for this post…I hope it makes some sense. I’m glad to have re-connected with my friend. But it’s not going to be easy between us for a while yet, I fear. (Then again, nothing worthwhile ever is.)

      Barb Caffrey

      June 17, 2020 at 3:55 pm

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