The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sometimes, We Must Die to the Old to be Born to the New

My minister once told me that we experience many "resurrections" in our lives as we "die to the old" and are "born to the new."

She told me this as I was facing a devastating loss. Standing on the threshold between the known and the unknown was frightening, even though I knew that the known was harmful to me.

I died to the old when I became estranged from my entire family of origin. That death brought on the birth of my new "family of choice." I experienced growing pains with my new family as it began in its infancy, toddled on through adolescence, and eventually arrived fully grown.

It was hard to give up on my dream of a healthy, abuse-free, family of origin, but self-preservation prevailed. I chose survival. After years of rebuilding my life, I realized that my new "family" was more supportive, loving, nurturing and fulfilling than any of my prior dreams or experiences.

Fourteen years later, I died to the old when I became open to new realities - even when they contradicted the past - and the reconciliation with my family of origin was born.

I've experienced many such deaths and births on my journey from abuse and estrangement to surviving and thriving. Each "death" was frightening. It required taking a leap of faith into the unknown, hard work, loss, pain, healing, learning, growing, and stretching:

  • The death of denial - the birth of awareness.
  • The death of accepting mistreatment - the birth of self- love and safe-guarding my own well-being.
  • The death of accepting betrayal - the birth of self-respect.
  • The death of looking outward to have my needs met - the birth of looking inward to satisfy my own needs.
  • The death of brokenness - the birth of healing.

With growth comes loss, but eventually, healing and freedom. Birthing is always difficult, but well worth the reward.


Just Be Real said...

Exactly what I am working on now! Dieing to the old (including stinking thinking).

Time is a major factor here, as it will take time. Thank you Nancy for sharing!

AbuseAndForgiveness said...

Just Be Real,

I agree, time is a major factor.


Enola said...

What a GREAT post. Thanks for submitting this to the Blog Carnival - that is how I found it.

AbuseAndForgiveness said...

Thank You Enola!

Marj aka Thriver said...

Wonderful post, Nancy. I really like how you were able to weave in the death-and-rebirth analogy. Thanks so much for allowing us to use this for The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.

Patricia Singleton said...

Wow!!! I haven't seen anybody else express the process that I found true for myself before. Like you, I had to do my own healing and learning to love myself before I could even think about forgiveness of others. I've written several articles about my own forgiveness process on my blog in the past almost two years of blogging. One thing that I learned was that forgiveness was for me, not the other person. Forgiving the other person released me to be me more wholly.

Grace said...

*soaking in your words*
I'm waiting the 'born to the new' to happen...

AbuseAndForgiveness said...

It does take time!

Colleen said...

Wonderful post. I have an award for you on my blog. God bless.

AbuseAndForgiveness said...

Thanks Colleen!