It’s a story about me, about my journey and some friends who’ve followed and know me personally will know what this is about. But it isn’t about the person I’m forgiving, and it echos our rabbi’s sermon in some interesting ways.
Along my road I decided that I needed to start understanding how I was going to do with my friends. Was I going to lose them, keep them, face ridicule? For the most part my worries were for naught. Yet I had one fellow I felt close to who had an interesting reaction to my news, and I was still, to be honest, not all that recovered from depression or finding out that I was going to need to deal with being trans and not just bury it as I had done in the past.
He argued with me employing all sorts of devices and appeals, but it all boiled down to he didn’t like it, nor did he believe gender dysphoria was a real primary problem and he certainly wasn’t going to accept me as a trans woman. Really sad, but it made me furious because along the way he had tromped on my values, ethics and honor. He played very rough and he did this with a person who was arguably damaged at the time. I was absolutely furious at him.
Time passed and we stayed out of contact for the most part. He wouldn’t see me and I wasn’t willing to listen to his intellectualization of my actual real life pain, and that left nothing to be said. But as time passed I healed. The depression that so debilitated me at that start of this journey was under good control medically and psychologically and dealing with my trans issues by transitioning was very successful.
As a result I finally got to the point where it really wasn’t all about me anymore. It took awhile. I had tried early on to “forgive” him. It was well motivated but badly done. Forgiving someone isn’t done with caveats, it is done with compassion and acceptance of the other person. A couple of barbed emails and honestly I was still trying to hurt him back even as I had the pretense of making peace.
Months later I spent awhile actually thinking about it. Thinking of how given this man’s limitations that it must have been painful and alarming to have a friend of 25 years about to disappear forever. Thinking of how this person does have a good heart and if he truly felt I was making a horrible mistake, however misguided I might think his judgment, that he was obligated to fight for a friend. Indeed that it was the right and honorable thing to do.
From there I could at last accept that he had done the best he could in his humanity with all the frailties and foibles that entails, that he acted without malice and that whatever harm he caused wasn’t caused intentionally. I was able to write him a true letter of forgiveness that was unconditional and wish him well.
I went from resenting him to viewing him as a lesson in how to deal with such an impasse. I’m sorry that we are out of touch now and will doubtlessly drift apart and I hold out no really hope he will suddenly change his mind. When I count all the friends I’ve kept and made I can afford to let him go in peace.