I have been trying to sit down and write this, but every time I do, I cannot find the right words. Forgiveness is something that I have struggled with for a long time, in a lot of different areas of my life. I tend to be one who holds grudges, something I desperately wish I could change about myself. I take things at face value, and if you stab me, I bleed. Whether it be through words or actions, I have been hurt by a lot of people and have held grudges against them, some lasting years. But the biggest grudge I have held has been the most personal. I have been MAD!! I am mad at the fact that my son struggles every day.
Things that we all take for granted, simple things like walking, he has a hard time doing. Just today we were walking from the school to my car and I wasn’t paying close enough attention and he walked right into a telephone pole. He has a hard time seeing words on a piece of paper, it has to be on a certain colored paper, he sits 2 feet in front of the TV so he can watch a show. I have felt like life is not fair, I have had the “woe is me” moments. I have cried, screamed, yelled, fought the system, doctors, insurance companies and even people I would call friends all in the pursuit of educating myself and others about Autism. Nathan “looks” like such a “nuero-typical” child that people just do not understand. If there was one thing I could wish for would be for the stares to stop.
Over the summer, Nathan was in a really bad place. He was having a hard time expressing himself and most days resulted in violent, aggressive and verbally abusive behavior. There were many days that I did not even want to be around him and that is a pretty heartbreaking statement coming from his Mom. It took a lot of conversations with Jay and I to realize that we could not take it personally and that he wasn’t really himself. It took him going to the hospital to get him the help that he needed via communication tools and self-regulation methods as well as some much-needed medication management to get things under control. But I was angry. He always said he was sorry, but you know how when someone says sorry and continues the same behavior it does not have any impact anymore? That is where we were.
Nathan and I were talking one night about what forgiveness means. I explained to him that when you do something that you should not do and you ask someone to forgive you that you are asking their heart not to hurt anymore. I told him when someone gives you their forgiveness it is like writing on a chalkboard and taking an eraser and wiping the chalkboard clean and you start over. At that time he told me he was sorry for anything he did to make my heart hurt and it was a moment where I knew he really was sorry. We were driving one day and this song came on the radio by Matthew West called “Forgiveness” and he screamed, “Mom, you forgave me and this song is talking about it”. To this day, this is one of my favorite songs, not only because Nathan understood it, but because when it talks about when you give forgiveness you are really freeing yourself, spoke to me about all the grudges I had held on to. I realized that I needed to let them go. I am being very serious when in that moment, I let them go. I don’t harbor any grudges or hold on to the past. As my Mom would say, “it is what it is”, and isn’t that the truth!