Why self-forgiveness is the key
So, this is what my correspondent from the last post replied:
“I knew you were going to say to apologize to my children. And I know I need to do this. But emotionally I can’t do it. It will hurt me too much to bring up past experiences. I don’t think I have the emotional strength to apologize to them, on my own.
“I know I need to nullify my own busha if I want to get peace with this, and the yetzer hara is having a field day with me. For now, I will ask H-Shem for the strength to eventually do this, and ask H-Shem to allow my tefillot and teshuvot to be accepted, even though this situation with my children is hanging over me, especially since it is Elul.“
One brave lady
My correspondent is one brave lady, because if you asked any single one of us if we’d be happy to say sorry to our kids – particularly the kids we KNOW we haven’t done a great job of parenting, and who have suffered a great deal as a result – I guarantee that none of us would be running over eagerly to get the whole apology party on the road.
As we mentioned in previous posts, saying sorry is really, really hard. And it’s harder still when we know we really screwed up; and it’s harder still when we don’t even know if our apology is going to be accepted, or if it’s even going to ‘fix’ things they way we hope.
So then, what options are really left open to us, if we’re somehow stuck knowing we need to say sorry, but unable to do it?
You know what I’m going to say next, don’t you?
At that point, there is no other option on the table except to get God involved. And that’s exactly what my correspondent did. Here’s what she told me:
Get God involved, and see miracles
“I wanted to let you know the most amazing miracles happened to me today.
“I was in the middle of my Hitbodedut, when I started thinking that the same way that my children’s situation, which is painful for me as a mother, is getting me closer to H-Shem, the situation is also there to get them closer to H-Shem, too.
“Don’t get me wrong I’m not excusing myself for how I treated them strictly and harshly. But I’m starting to understand that, for whatever reason, I was the messenger for their test – but the tribulations they had to had, and it was much better that it came via me, who really does love them, then via some other route.
“This idea gave me permission to forgive myself, and took a huge load off my shoulders, I physically felt lighter, and more at peace with myself. Everything comes from H-Shem, and everything H-Shem does is good and for our own good.
‘I know that I still need to apologize to them, but H-Shem will give me the strength to do so, at the right time.
“Later on, I was talking to my daughter when all of a sudden she started thanking me, telling me what a great mom I was to her growing up. I tried to apologize to her, but she said that there’s nothing to apologize for. My husband was also there, and tried to say that we’d all made mistakes during those hard times, but she shushed him, and said ‘:lets just say I’m sorry to each other and start new.’
“I’m still in amazing shock. THANK YOU H-SHEM, 1 MILLION TIMES OVER! If you think this story will bring chizuk to others, please publicize this amazing miracle.”
Her story certainly gave ME a lot of chizuk, so I was more than happy to share it further afield.
In the next post, we’re going to pull all this stuff together into a practical ‘Elul Forgiveness Exercise’ that will hopefully help you to kick-start your teshuva process.