It was not so many Thanksgivings ago that I told my (biological for those who know both of the women who have mothered me) mother that I never wanted to see her again, and then basically didn’t for several years. I was in junior high at the time. Not to get into the whole long story, but we had hurt and been hurt by each other, had misunderstood each other, and basically ceased to have a relationship after years of hurt and misunderstanding. And it seemed that as years went by, hurt and misunderstanding piled upon hurt and misunderstanding, and even talking on the phone became difficult. At the same time I felt guilty and somehow defective for not being able to have a functional relationship with my own mother, but the guilt just made the hurt and misunderstanding even harder to deal with. Others who attempted to help heal this broken relationship just added to the burden of guilt and pain, making me feel even more defective.
Tonight my mother is coming to visit me for Thanksgiving. It will be the first Thanksgiving we have spent together since that horrible Thanksgiving years ago. I’m actually really looking forward to it.
What changed between then and now?
This Thanksgiving, I have to say, I am so thankful for him. It is thanks to Jon that I have a relationship with my mother today, one in which we can email and talk on the phone and visit and just know and be with each other in a way I couldn’t have imagined not so many years ago. Rather than making me feel guilty for my broken relationship with my mother, Jon patiently and gently pointed out that while I didn’t have to reconcile, didn’t have to force forgiveness I didn’t feel, I did have to let go of anger and bitterness and hurt, because those things were weighing me down and making me a bitter and unhappy person. And because I never felt anything but accepted and loved by him, I felt free to let go of those feelings that were holding me back and keeping me from really being myself. And I also felt comfortable enough to see a counselor and work through my own issues. And eventually, I felt free enough to forgive. And forgiveness led to reconciliation, and reconciliation to renewed relationship.
How many people can honestly say their partner makes them a better person, helps them have better relationships with others, and shows them what grace and freedom really look like? I can. And this Thanksgiving, I’m so thankful for him.