The Healing Journey

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~Mark Twain

“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” ~Marianne Williamson

“Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life.” ~Joan Lunden

“Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” ~Desmond Tutu

“As longs as you can blame someone else, be angry with someone else, point the finger at someone else, you are not taking responsibility for your life.” ~Iyanla Vanzant

I recently had the opportunity to deliver this message at an Annual Candlelight Memorial Service and thought I would share it here.

At some point in your life you will find yourself on a healing journey through no fault of your own, but through the process of life and death. This is a process from which no one escapes; we all have to make this journey at some point in our lives.

enchanted path


The journey will differ for each of us because we are different and our relationships are different. However, one thing will always be the same: our path to healing and feeling better more than likely requires forgiveness no matter how insignificant or extraordinary it may seem.

You may be thinking you have nothing to forgive. Just by the mere fact that we are all human, however, means that we are all capable of doing or saying the wrong things. And some of these things can hurt or wound those we love.

No person is perfect and no relationship is perfect; we all make mistakes. The forgiveness we have given to ourselves (and to those we love) for our mistakes will impact the amount of pain and unresolved grief we carry in our hearts.

Consider for a moment these three words with respect to your departed loved ones: different, better and more. Time does not change these, but only tempts us to bury them deeper within the depths of our hearts. When we have feelings of wanting and wishing for different, better and more, we likely also have feelings attached to these of guilt, regret, and/or resentment. It is these feelings that are weighing in our hearts and adding to the pain of our grief. They keep us stuck and unable to move forward in our lives and experience life to the fullest once again.

The key to moving forward lies in our desire and ability to allow forgiveness into our heart, so it can truly mend and heal. Forgiveness is the only remedy that will give us the healing we long for. We cannot find it in a bottle, a pill, in food, or in materials things. It will not come from denial, forgetting or pretending we are okay. Anger will not heal us but only perpetuate our pain and pass it on to others.

To forgive is not to say what you said or did was okay or that what they said or did was okay. Rather, forgiveness demonstrates that you will no longer carry the pain or hurt that was caused by words or actions in your heart and that this pain no longer prevents you from experiencing all of the happiness and joy life has to offer. Forgiveness releases you from the pain that the feelings of guilt, regret and resentment bring with them.

We will still experience feelings of sadness and miss our loved ones dearly; however we will do it with a lighter, healed and open heart.

One thing I have come to appreciate and respect is that life is precious and we never know when our life or the life of our loved ones will come to an end. For this reason, it is important we do not hold onto guilt, regret or resentments. We should and take the time to forgive, apologize and make amends while we can.

Forgiveness is not an act but an intention from the depths of our hearts to heal. It is a process and it does take time. It starts with a desire to feel better and let go of the pain that burdens us and weighs heavily in our hearts. Time, along with the desire and intention to forgive, can and will heal. Without it, our grief will continue to weigh heavily upon us.

You can give the most precious gift that life has to offer: forgiveness of yourself and others. It costs nothing yet its benefits are both timeless and priceless.

Recipe for Forgiveness

Think about anyone you may be holding onto anger and resentment towards and make a commitment to yourself to forgive them and let the negative feelings go.

  • If that person has died, write them a letter letting them know how the hurt made you feel, but let them know you are no longer going to carry the pain of it and that you forgive them. Then find a trusted partner or friend and read the letter aloud to them with the pure intention of truly letting go.
  • If they are still living and you feel safe enough to speak to them in person, then take the time to let them know you forgive them. Let it be from the heart and know you are releasing yourself from the pain.
  • If you do not feel safe enough to do it in person you can write a letter and once again read it to a trusted friend or partner.

When you do this, also allow yourself to feel and release any other emotions that may arise. This is part of the letting-go process. We need to feel to heal. May this time of forgiveness lighten your heart and bring you more peace and joy.

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