I remember my mother once saying when I was young, perhaps only a teenager, that she had heard on the radio someone saying that 'maturity is when you can forgive your parents'. I have never forgotten it, especially since she then added that she thought if that were true she would never be mature. I was too young and scared to ask her what she needed to forgive my grandparents for, which is a pity because I am now left to guess and will never know whether my guesses are accurate. I do know that she was very angry with her parents, probably until the end of her life. I suspect the same is true of my father although that is more difficult to judge.
I also thought to myself at the time that maybe I would never be mature either. and by that criterion I am still on the journey to maturity. It seems to me that often forgiveness is a slow process and comes from gradually gaining insight into why people behaved the way they did, recognising that, in the case of parents, almost all of them do the best they can with what they've got (which of course includes their own early experiences).
I am grateful that my own children seem to have made much faster progress in that journey than I have. I'm painfully conscious of many mistakes which I made with them but in the end they seem mostly to have left behind any anger and resentment they may have felt as a result. And that's the most important experience I have of being forgiven.
LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 07-Aug-14 15:19:13
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