Day 2 – Maybe this makes forgiveness harder?

Yesterday I started in a rather abstract place to discuss forgiveness: my simple childhood. There’s a reason for that, as I think you’ll see as we go.

It seems that home affects us more than we typically understand or appreciate. Certainly the people who raised us matter, but the texture of the place(s) we grew up in does too.

Here’s what I mean.

Before my parents starting having kids my dad built a light holiday trailer they could pull behind their car. They would go camping and travel all around Canada and the US during summer holidays. Because my dad was a high school math teacher, he was able to do this.

When I and my sister came along they continued that and so we grew up camping every summer. Even though they didn’t travel as far with us, a typical summer holiday was spent in the Rocky mountains of Alberta or at some forested lake in British Columbia.

Those were good times, and good memories for me and I think for my parents too.

I didn’t realize the impact camping in these places had on me.

I only noticed this once I was an adult and Terry and I moved our kids out of town. We rented an old farmhouse in the foothills of the Rockies. (Not old enough to be cool, just old enough to have been renovated over and over and over again.)

Truth be told, we were embarrassed by the house, but we’d explain that we moved out here for the land, not the house. We got a horse or two and were able to fulfill our kids’ (and Terry’s) dreams in that way.

But when I really noticed my connection to the land was when I’d look down at the ground when I was walking.

I’d see an ant hill and recognize the specific type of ants, and something vaguely familiar would stir.

I’d notice the pine needles…
the texture of the stones…
the way the trees would sound in the breeze.

It slowly dawned on me that even the wild flowers resonated with something deep within me (I’m not normally a flowers guy)

… They were the same flowers I had known when I was camping as a kid.

All of it was my childhood again.

I was “home” in a way that I did not expect. I had no idea that those memories would surface or that I had connected so deeply to such basic and fundamental details of place.

My body knew these things. My mind took a while to catch up.

These little things, ants, pine needles, trees, connected me to my sense of self, of who I was, and in some strange way, my destiny too.

I don’t know if most other people have these experiences or not. I don’t really know if something I said today spoke to you. Maybe it’s not place that you connect deeply with. Maybe it’s food that does this for you, or buildings, or routines of your youth.

I wonder if we hurt more when these things are betrayed then other things?

I wonder if forgiveness is harder when it is connected to our childlike states?

This has been my experience.

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  1. Oh my ! I am the same way !
    I had such a loving and caring childhood one with memories that literally make me cry I want them back so bad!
    We were born and raised devout Catholics and still are
    God is and was always in our lives and that made us extremely rich

  2. Don’t know if I explain were u can understand . Childhood memories can be good like yours . Some bad , or negative. For now 2 Cor 5:17 comes to mind. We can let emotions get in way of Holy Spirit. In flesh it is hard to forgive. Also kind of stumble block. If your child of king . U are to forgive as our Lord. Which brings me to this no greater love then live of Jesus. He loves me inspite of my sin.

  3. I totally understand that connection. Thanks for sharing. My Mom was a teacher as well. Our summer home was a 600 sq ft. cottage on Hemlock Isand, North Bay ON. We were a family of 8 including my Grandfather who knew every plant and tree. No phones, no TV. My favorite places to be are in the woods and on my lake, in my canoe. There is a stillness in nature where I hear “be still and know I am God”.

  4. I was abused in almost every way that you can think of. My dad sexually abused me and my two sisters, my mom was never emotionally there, my brothers would physically abuse me and every time I had a chance to get some money I was expected to give it to my patents no matter how I got it or what I did to earn it. I have forgiven them but the memories are still there. For example, when or if my oldest brother (who would tie me to a chair so the he didn’t have to be concerned with watching me) calls I can’t help but to remember that he wouldn’t even talk to me or pay any attention to me when we were kids. Or (I am now 69) at night when I go to bed I have a real hard time falling asleep because I remember when my dad would wait until everyone was in bed asleep and then he would come into my room (he insisted that I have a room to myself) and do his thing. My dad has been gone for a long time now but those memories are still there and haunt me. Like I said I forgave them when I was in my 50’s because I was tired of carrying this in my life. I felt such a big relief the it was almost as if I was getting saved all over again.

  5. The closer the relationship, the higher the expectation, the deeper the wound, the harder the forgiveness. When my gut reaction is out of proportion to the offense, I have to check myself on why I feel so wounded.

  6. I’m having a problem with trust. Someone lied to me that I love. Is that the same as forgiveness? In a relationship, trust is very important to me. Any ideas?