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The Lesson I Learned By Forgiving My Ex

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The Lesson I Learned By Forgiving My Ex

Accept The Past For True Healing
Lillie  Leonardi
Lillie Leonardi More by this author
Apr 12, 2016 at 10:30 AM

In the years following my divorce, I convinced myself that I had rid myself of any feelings about my ex-husband and the events that had transpired. Yet, when his health faltered, the leftover emotions long trapped inside my subconscious found the pathway to my conscious mind. And soon, I felt a convoluted mess of upheaval and regret surging inside my soul. When his condition worsened with each passing day, I was hit with emotions that I believed had long been gone. 

What I came to realize during that time was that I needed healing. I suddenly felt a strong desire to speak with him and express these emotions. I became aware that the need was not only to resolve issues for me, but for our daughter as well. The opportunity to do so would also help unlock closed chambers in my heart. I felt compelled to voice my feelings by talking with my ex before too much more time passed.

I wanted to talk as a means to promote healing for all three of us. I wanted him to know I forgave him for his indiscretions and ill behavior. And I hoped he would find it in his heart to forgive me for any trespasses I had committed against him as well. That first love we once shared had become a permanent part of my being. Years had swiftly passed, but I was still unable to truly accept another man’s love. I sensed that my soul had not yet been released from the vow I had taken when we married.

When my ex-husband’s health issues finally stabilized, I paid him a visit at his home. At first, we both seemed uncomfortable and lost in our own thoughts. When I began to speak about the present, though, the past hurts seemed to dissipate. I knew that nothing would be gained by rehashing the problems that had caused so much turmoil in our lives. Instead, I spoke to him about how much I appreciated that he had made an attempt to renew his relationship with our daughter. I also requested that he be very careful as to not injure her fragile heart again.

Before I left, I asked if it would be all right to give him a hug. In his acceptance, I placed my arms around him and the emotions became somewhat overwhelming. When finally I left that day, I felt so very relieved. All the stress and apprehension I had about making the visit faded away. In my heart, I believed we had come to a place of forgiveness.

Artwork "Forgiveness" Artist: Meganne Forbes

Later that evening, as I sat contemplating all that had come to pass, I realized that my emotions were the result of grieving for the lost years. I was lamenting my inability to truly connect with or trust another man. I had closed myself off from all men, in a way, and hadn’t allowed my heart to respond to the purity of new love. Although I had my share of romantic liaisons, I had closed my heart. I had built a great wall of protection around myself.

Now that I’ve worked to reconcile myself with my past, I feel an opening of my heart to the prospect of finding love again. I am vigilant about trying to recognize ongoing changes transpiring within me on a daily basis and how they affect my actions. I now understand I am an ever-evolving creature who has the ability to adapt to life’s challenges.

As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to shed some of my old skin and to change colors as needed in order to adapt to what life throws my way. My expectations of myself have changed, too. I am now more generous about my needs and more lenient on myself about my mistakes. I have entered a new dimension in a complex inner world, and my journey to that place has shed light on the meaning of unconditional love.

My book, The White Light of Grace is my “rendition of affairs of the heart.” It recounts my journey of self-discovery, realizations about forgiveness, self-acceptance and healing.  

About Author
Lillie  Leonardi
Lillie Leonardi worked in law enforcement for more than 25 years before retiring to pursue her lifelong dream of writing. In 1984, Leonardi was appointed to serve as the first female police officer with the City of Arnold, Pennsylvania. She broke bar Continue reading
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