I usually let the mind have its little foray, which can include some well-executed words (what I would like to say to those who caused me pain), an indulgent pang of longing for what used to be, and a brief moment of self-pity. Then I tell the thoughts to move along, and we get back to reality. I know that these thoughts will decrease over time as I walk forward in grace, so I don't give much thought to their appearance a few times a week. However, a few days ago I realised that by letting my soul walk over the scab, even if only for a moment, I was in fact disrupting the healing process and prolonging the time it would take me to recover. So this week, when that old visitor of remembered hurt came knocking, I wrote a letter.
Dear Pain of My Past:
I forgive you. I do not hold anything against you. I remember everything that happened, but there is no revenge or anger attached to it. I do not need to vent or let you know how you made me feel, nor do I wish bad things into your life as a penalty for my pain. I live in the most gracious presence of a holy God, and I extend that presence to you. I do not remember you with regret. I choose to think of the good times with joy and the bad times with loving understanding that none of us walk a perfect path. Though I cannot turn a blind eye to the dark and destructive nature of evil, I know that carrying a light is the only way to render it powerless. So I embrace the light of loving truth and shine it on both you and me.
My story is not finished. It has not always been a pretty story, but I do not want to erase you from the pages. You are being written into this chapter and the next as a milestone in my maturity and a catalyst for enlarging my ability to love. Your story is not finished, either. I pray that you, too, will become a more mature person, changed by an encounter with grace. Every time I think of you, I will bless you and not curse you. Every time you come to mind, I will smile in wonder at the mysterious ways that God draws us to himself. I am free from the need to revisit the scene of the crime and stare at its ugliness. I am free from the shadow of depression that accompanies each visit. I am free from all side-effects of this pain because love is stronger than it all. You can no longer steal anything from me, because I am loved and I love you. Peace to you. Peace to me. Peace can go where understanding cannot. I live in peace.
The moment I started reading this letter, I could feel wholeness take the place of hurt. The visitor has not come around much since then.
This is a photo of some nifty note cards given to me by a family member.