Forgiveness in my Forties

I’ve been thinking about forgiveness lately. Trying to navigate how important it is to my personal fullness. Forgiveness, as far as I have come to understand it, is not required. It’s definitely a choice. It looks different for me now than it did before. In the years leading up to my 40th birthday, I felt myself changing in many ways.

The ways in which I’m using forgiveness is one of those distinct changes.

Before, forgiveness looked like a long and drawn out painful reconciliation with another. There was always a fear attached to my forgiveness. A fear of losing, a fear of becoming bitter.

Of being alone.

This fear-motivated forgiveness felt like a carousel of indignity taking me up and down, around and nowhere. I just picked the horse of compromise and got on it until it stopped. Forgiveness is the carousel. The words “I’m sorry” begin to sound like the nonsense music that plays during the ride, to distract from its dizzying effects.


I think the older I get the less time I have for these “rides.” I no longer am afraid to lose. I am uninterested in compromise. I am uninterested in loss. So I trashed the indignity of that carousel and set out to structure my forgiveness in a way that made more sense to my soul.

We need to feed our souls.

I don’t want to struggle any more. I don’t believe in struggle love as something beneficial to us. Love doesn’t hurt, life does, love is the sanctuary we retreat to.

Armed with this wisdom, forgiveness changed shaped. Now, forgiveness looks like a garden that mostly tends itself. Every flower is every interaction I’ve ever had in every relationship I’m in or have ever been in. Forgiveness is only required when tending those blooms I’d like to see blossoming in my soul’s garden.

Some flowers bloom while others die, and others still never even bud at all. I walk and I tend. Forgiveness is silence and distance. Sometimes, as the gardener, I can clip a bloom or decide to let it take root. I can also tend to my blooms collaboratively but most times I tend alone.

I have let roses die.

I have planted new seeds.

Forgiveness isn’t about the flowers themselves. Even the most beautiful blooms can be poison. I don’t want my garden overrun with beautiful toxic blooms.


Forgiveness is the tending that goes into keeping my garden strong; healthy.

It is the choices I make….to nurture or let it die.

Forgiveness is the water from which all of the blossoms grow and forgiveness is the machete that can cut it all down. My garden continues to grow regardless.

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