March 9, 2010
By Anonymous

Forgiveness is letting go of the past and starting over with a clean slate. It is accepting the fact that people make mistakes; after all, we are all human beings capable of messing up and making mistakes. Not a single one of us was made perfect - far from it. Although the act of forgiveness should be as common as making mistakes, because you need one followed right after the other, this is not always the case. Forgiveness requires a change of heart, an emotional uplifting, and a letting go of what brought you down to begin with. An apology does not mean anything if you just say the words without truly having an inner peace. This is what makes forgiveness hard. Anyone can say the words and go through the motions, but its not true forgiveness unless it comes from inside you.

The absence of forgiveness can sometimes cause bigger problems than the initial problem did. It can ruin a friendship, leaving unwritten memories and the loss of a true companion. Some of those friendships have the ability to rebuild, but others are lost forever. I was always taught to forgive and forget, and holding grudges never existed in my household. I never truly understood why forgiveness was so important until I had to deal with it first hand.

Beginning in elementary school, and continuing through the beginning of high school, I had a best friend. Her name was Lacey K., and we were inseparable. We did a lot of things together, including dance class, weekend sleepovers, and homework. Every night we would talk on the phone for hours at a time. The first year of high school she became very interested in a boy in our class and they started dating. We were still so close that a few of her friends, including myself, went on their first “date” to the movies. Our nightly phone conversations did not change that much either, except that he was on the phone as well. This continued for about two weeks, until they became more comfortable with one another and decided that they needed more time for just the two of them. Our nightly phone conversations turned into theirs, and I only saw or talked to her at school. This being the first time any of my friends had dated a guy; I became very jealous of him. He took my best friend away from me and I hated him for it. One day at lunch something came up about the two of them and in my bitterness on the subject, blurted something out about him that she told me because she trusted that I would never tell anyone. Neither one of them was there, so I didn’t think much of it.

The day after I slipped up and said something I shouldn’t have, she started giving me the silent treatment. I had no idea what had triggered this behavior from her and the rest of our friends. I had been exiled from the group. I went from maid of honor to distant friend that sits in the back of the church at the wedding. It hurt me to feel rejected and thrown out like a wet dog, but once I realized that none of them were going to speak to me under any circumstances I began to ignore them right back. We had one mutual friend, Nicole, who saw past both of our mistakes and chose not to take a side. She tried to get me to apologize, but I refused because I still was unclear about what had caused the problem to begin with. I didn’t know what I needed to apologize for, nor had Lacey come up to me to talk about the situation and what made her so mad. A few days later, Nicole got us together. We had a brief conversation about the situation and gave one another our apologies, but it still wasn’t the same. I knew that it never would be. I made new friends and climbed the social ladder, leaving all of them behind.
It has been said that time has the power to heal everything, which I have come to believe. Today Lacey and I are still friends, but we don’t talk nearly as much as we used to. Our close friendship throughout our early lives was drastically changed by this one mistake that, looking back at now was miniscule. The absence of true forgiveness caused more problems than the initial problem would have if we talked about it, worked it out with one another, and apologized on the spot. Instead, we let it brew under our skin and never really worked it out. That is what ruined our friendship- lack of apology.
This incident not only showed me that true forgiveness is needed to really go on with your life, but it also taught me that holding grudges only causes more problems. Lacey and I lost so many memories over this one problem that we will never be able to get back.

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