Saturday, May 19, 2012

Forgiveness - One Year Later

Recently, I've taken a long break from posting in my Blog. While not something I hope to continue, it was necessary in order to shift my focus  to take stock in the year I've had since finding my father and new family.  The time has helped me understand more about how the power and comfort of forgiveness can help make life so beautiful. Thank you to those of you who have encouraged me to hurry and get back to Blogging.  Regardless, after the events of the last year and in order for me to get to this post today, I needed to learn how to really put the past behind me.
For me, that came with needing to decide to forgive the past, all of it. Not just the piece that came with the secrets and lies of growing up, but for those that did their very best to find a way to taint my life with their toxic behavior over this past year. Those of you who really know me, that it messed with my head a bit. However, I know that holding resentment of any form is negative and can be poisonous to a new beginning. 

I have always recognized the the many blessings that I have in my life. I try not to let a day go by where I take notice of all of them. I have a wonderful family, our kids, while grown now, still need us and not just to help them through tough spots either. Despite being a new age family and what some may believe, we truly understand and embrace what "family" is and means.

My daughter, Chenin, is an amazing young woman. While I try to tell her as much as possible, she still may not know it, but she is truly an inspiration to me. She is my friend and we can tell each other anything and she has never judged me. Meghan and Brian are wonderful. They are beautiful young people, all of our children are, but they have bright futures ahead of them too. I appreciate how they have embraced me in their lives and feel comfortable looking to me as one of their "dads." I adore the closeness that all three share.

I have had a big brother that I have admired and leaned on all my life. Okay we leaned on each other. But the point is, we were there for each other when we had no one else we could count on. I thank him for that, as well as being open to the new beginning I provided our lives this past year.

I have an amazing partner, who through the power of love, continues to believe in me, love me and support me when I need him most. He believes in me, trusts me and I know that he truly wants me to be the happiest person in the world. Like all couples we have our "moments" when we need to step back and figure out where we took the wrong turn, but we always get back on the right path. Most of all, when I really needed to put my past behind me and find out about my father, after all of the years under my belt, he helped me do just that, no matter what the cost or consequence. After all, for him, it was about helping me the find peace and happiness that he felt I so richly deserved. This is true love people.

Now, one year later, I am getting to know and love a new family. My father, whom I believed was no longer with us, may still be in disbelief occasionally, is learning to love the sons that he lost over 50 years ago. He is learning to embrace and love us, as who we are, not who we should be. I know that time and getting to know me, specifically better, will help him with understanding the things in life that he may not completely understand. Regardless, finding my father was a gift and a story that will come to life in pages soon. I cannot begin to tell you what the power of forgiveness has personally done for me where having my father in my life is concerned.

I have an amazing sister, Kelly. My second trip to Buffalo last year was devoted to getting to know her, as well as my brothers more. We had some great moments of sharing and learning from each other how to heal, forgive and forget. We talked about not being able to change time, the years under our belt, but how learning to forgive and let go will help us all move forward. There was a bond instantly formed where Kelly and I are concerned. I knew it when it happened over lunch on a Friday afternoon, but I was convinced of it when were saying goodbye to one another at the airport. I was literally 50 yards from the car, which I thought was already homeward bound, when I saw her run to me in tears, sharing the love that she felt for me. It was one of those moments you only see on television and a moment in time that I will carry with me, forever. I truly felt like her big brother and continue to feel very connected to her.

I have new brothers too; Paul, David, Michael, and Jim. Each of them have a special place in my heart. I bonded with David before I knew him. While we do not know why the bond was instant and before meeting, we know that we can feel complete now that we have found each other. Paul and I connected during my fall trip to Buffalo. We learned just how much we share with each other, past and present and we look forward to having more time to experience more and share new memories. Michael, the baby brother and I share a connection of service to our country and all that comes with that feeling. We share the power of determination and what I feel is the belief that we knew that one day that the entire family would be connected again. Jim, the oldest of the new found siblings is an amazing free spirit and we share the belief in the power that what is meant to happen will happen. While I have only met him once, I was transfixed to hear him speak and learn just how profound of a man he is in life.

In addition to a whole host of wonderful nieces and nephews that I am enjoying getting to know, there is a new woman in my life that I feel enough of a connection to call on as "mom," Sandy Bauth. I sent my first Mother's Day card in 25 years this year to thank her for her strength and for supporting all of us in this new beginning. What a gift and one that I'm not sure how many women would so freely give. I hope that she knows I think she is a wonderful woman. I know that my dad loves her with all that he is as a man. She has supported us and did not squint last year when we were all reunited as a family. This was truly done out of her love for my father, as well as a step to turning the page on their own painful memories of the past.

There is no doubt that we are still learning about one another, but some of the bonds that have been created are very powerful and I know cannot be broken. I have learned over my lifetime, especially over the past year, to never take anything for granted and how to turn dreams into reality through the sheer power of believing in myself, no matter what. So, to get to this moment in time. one year later since sharing my beautiful and loving story of one family finding each other, I understand and embrace the power of forgiveness and love. For undoubtedly, while a process, it is necessary to achieve happiness and success in all things in life, especially to have that deep seeded, personal untold peace and happiness, that I now enjoy for my life. Remember that you don't forgive someone for his or her sake, you forgive them for your own sake.

I've shared a great deal today. It has helped me reflect on my love of family and life. As you think about the power of forgiveness in your own lives, I leave you with this quote by Paul Boese, "Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future."

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