“Time,” the Captain said, “is not what you think.” He sat down next to Eddie. “Dying? Not the end of everything. We think it is but what happens on earth is only the beginning.”
Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven
If the above statement is true – if there is life after death – then why would I want to go into that life burdened with old grudges and unforgiveness? And, even if there wasn’t anything after the end, why would I want to carry hatred to my grave. Whom does it hurt? Certainly not the person I hate. It only hurts me, makes me ill, makes my passing even more painful in many ways, and my death all the sadder.
I want to go through the Door with joy, not fear or hatred or unforgiveness still in my heart. But how? Can I do a blanket “I forgive everybody” and receive absolution for my grudges? I have nothing against my Catholic brethren that receive death bed salvation / absolution – that may be the last time a person has a chance to come clean before God.
But I also wonder if I carry a grudge to my grave and beyond, will it have an effect on what Heaven will be like? Will I instead go to hell? Not the kind of fire and brimestone hell I grew up on, or the hell of Dante’s Inferno; but the worst hell I can think of is to be eternally separated from God, to never feel His Love again, to never hear His Voice speaking to my heart again, and to never, ever again to feel His Presence.
So what must I do to rid myself of these grudges and move into forgiveness? What is the process? Sure I could read books and ask people for advice but that isn’t me – I like to figure it out for myself. (This is also evidenced by my attempting to make a dog coat. My sister asked me why didn’t I just get a pattern to make it easier. I told her because I want to figure it out on my own. I am stubborn that way; life is more interesting when it’s hard than when it is easy.)
So I will keep thinking about forgiveness and writing about it until I resolve the issue. Or come to some other conclusion. Or forgive everyone. Or start the process of forgiveness. It just occurred to me I have started the process of forgiveness – just by thinking and writing about it is the beginning of that process – for me. A few years ago, forgiveness was nowhere near on the horizon for me and I would have bitten the head off of anyone who suggested it.
So it has begun…what awaits me in this new, uncharted territory? I am grateful God walks with me through this because that means I am not alone and I will walk through the pain because of Him.