the pain of forgiveness

Dearest Big Sister,

Even though you think you have arranged your world in such a way that I can no longer find out what you say about me, or Kate, I can assure you that you have not.

So, let’s set the record straight on the latest, shall we? I have not, did not, or ever would refer to you, your friends or anyone else associated with you as a  “monster.” That, sweetheart, was something you did on your  own. The fact that you also mentioned your parents in your latest rant indicates that they may be wondering why Kate is no longer hanging out with you, and perhaps they asked you about it. I’m sure you were completely honest in your response and gave them the whole story. You know, the one you claim I only know half of? Yeah, that one.

And as if that weren’t enough, you also made it perfectly clear to anyone who may be in any way associated with you and Kate, or you and me, that I am indeed cruel enough to call you or anyone else a monster. There are other words that do come to mind when I think of you, as I do every day: hurting, misunderstood, ignored, unjustly accused, scared, alone, abandoned. I’ve seen you during all of those emotional crises over the past ten years. Did I call you names? No. I held you while you cried. I listened to you pour hour heart out. I tried, in my very meager way and ability, to comfort you, to counsel you, to console you, to be there for you.

And now, weeks after I’ve had any interaction with you at all, you announce to the world that “your ex-best friend’s mother called you a monster.”

You wanna know what I find encouraging about this entire experience? Simply put, Kate is learning, quickly, how to defend herself, how to speak up and express her own opinions, her likes and dislikes. Kate is growing up. And as she does that, you get more and more angry, as do others who move in both of your circles, others who also seem to enjoy insulting Kate in public almost as much as you do. Why is that? Do you think true friendship means that friends must agree on everything, that you can control your friends, even force them to bend to your will, that you have the right to chastise or in any other way deliberately inflict pain on any “friend” who disagrees with you? Do you realize that there have been, and still are, people who are afraid to say or do anything in opposition to you, just so they can avoid the downpour of anger they know you will hand out, just for saying “No, I don’t want to do that today”?

My heart breaks for you, Big Sister, as it does for all of the people who have come into your life, only to be pushed aside like an unloved doll or a broken toy, a possession that no longer functions as you would have it.

So, the question comes down to this: can I forgive you for the pain your behavior has caused Kate, and me? Yes, child you are forgiven. Not for your sake, but for my own. Can Kate forgive? I don’t know; that is a decision that must come from her.

There’s a flip side to that question, which is this: can I, will I, condone your continued behavior, your insults, your anger thrown about for all the world to see? No, I don’t condone it, nor can I stop it. Only you can do that. I can, however, continue to speak the truth, in love, even though it falls on deaf ears.

Perhaps one day, when you get tired of carrying the burden of inflicted pain, or the loneliness that comes from consistently pushing away the people in your life who love you and care about you the most, you can forgive as well.

…and after everything you and your “friends” have put Kate through, she responds with this.

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