My parents chose to have Christmas with my ex-husband & my children on Christmas Eve, rather than me. Rather than my step-children, husband, & me, I should say. And this was a secret until he picked them up from my house at 10 Christmas Eve night. No reason other than because they wanted to prove a point.
The point came across that my step-children & husband are not welcome, even though none of them have done anything but love them. My husband has done nothing but respect them, no matter what has gone on. Giving 4 children presents while the other 2 now ask why they were left out & wonder what they did to deserve this...that's not right on any level.
I cannot imagine calling a person who deeply hurt my child & thinking, "He can come celebrate a holiday with us. I know it will put a knife in my child's heart & there's no reason my child can't bring her family or we can't go to her house, but I'm going to do this. Screw everyone's feelings."
After the shock of finding out that my parents have been communicating & hanging out with this man who lied about & to me for years...& that my parents believe horrible lies about me...that a cheating, abusive man's words are even considered, rather than laughed at...I became angry. After the anger, I became hurt. More hurt than I ever thought my own parents would cause me.
It took a while, but quite a few people helped me see that this isn't about me.
Last night I forgave. I have no anger towards them. I honestly am surprised that I don't have anymore anger because honestly & truly, if this had happened a few years ago, I'd be carrying anger towards them for a very long time. Instead, I have a husband who reminds me that at the end of the day I have to look in the mirror & be happy with what I see. I don't want to see an angry person who isn't following her commands from God to forgive & love everyone. Everyone. Not just the people who hurt her only a little bit. Or who she decides don't deserve it. But everyone.
The forgiveness came quickly because I have many examples of others who have quickly asked for forgiveness or forgiven me & God's forgiveness of my sins. In fact, one of those examples came just minutes after hanging up from my mom yesterday morning.
Someone said something over Christmas that stung. She didn't intend to hurt me & in hindsight, the anger at the first situation colored the way I saw the second situation. The words wouldn't have had quite so much meaning if the other thing hadn't already happened. This person came to me crying over how her heart was broken at hurting me. Didn't make excuses for why she said what she said (it was simply a matter of choosing the wrong words) or tell me I took it all wrong, simply said, "I'm sorry I hurt you." Those words hold a lot of power & have the ability to bring people so much closer. We cried, we hugged, we moved on. That's forgiveness & that example coming directly on top of my anger at someone else caused me to quickly realize that not only do I not want to be an angry person, but I must forgive.
We all have to face our Maker in the end & account for our actions. I'm sad that whatever is going on in their life right now led them to do something that hurt me so deeply & in the only way that they knew would stick a knife right in my heart. Dividing my family by playing favorites with my children & including a man who is a monster was a great way to ensure that knife went straight in.
I have a lot of people in my life who love me & what this did showed me that. I learned a huge lesson & that was that family is not always blood. Step-families, in-laws, friends, friends' parents...the people who are there for you when you don't know how to pick yourself back up...the people who drop everything in their day to show you that love...the people that understand how busy you are & don't make you feel guilt over it...the people who don't put conditions on your relationship...the people who apologize when they've hurt you...that's family.