This was written October 24, 2011. I have edited it, but the message is the same.
I work very hard at forgiving others for their actions against me. A complete forgiveness should absolve them of their negative actions, right? I start to wonder about how to move forward. If they are forgiven completely, doesn’t that mean that it is erased as if it never happened? Or does it mean that the lesson is learned and you move forward based on that life lesson?
I don’t hold grudges; they are a waste of time and energy and a thief of serenity. I am also not willing to put myself in harms way. I forgive the person who took my virginity in an agonizing act of rape…but I sure as hell never saw him again. I forgave my big brother for knocking three of my teeth loose in the seventh grade…and I learned to never make him say ‘please’ again when he asked for his stuff back.
Maybe it is just that these are lessons that shape us and our path in life. Maybe once the bridge is burned, it is possible to rebuild the bridge, but it takes a lot of hard work, and time. Once a bridge is burned you can’t immediately return to the site of the fire because of the lingering smoke and potential for flare ups. You can purchase materials for the rebuild and leave them in a safe place.
If the person on the other side does not allow you to rebuild the bridge, at least you have done everything in your power to allow for the rebuild. The other person cannot complain that he no longer has a bridge if you offered to rebuild, and bought the materials. You then can have a clear conscious moving forward. It is your job at that point to move on. If you have honestly and completely come to an understanding of why and how you burned the bridge in the first place, your job is to admit the mistake and take steps to put the bridge back where it was.
I’ve been that person on the other side and there are times when there is no way in hell that the bridge burner is stepping foot on my land. Leave the damn materials on the side of the road, if I choose to use them, I will. If not, I can’t bitch that my bridge is gone forever if the material rots on the side of the road. Whatever you do, do NOT even think about trying to build that bridge without my permission…you will be shot on site.
As the bridge burner you must also be aware that I very well may use those materials to build a wall to keep you off my property forever. That is a chance you will have to take, and a very good probability that this is exactly what I will use the materials for.
As the person whose bridge was burnt, I also need to be mindful that once the materials rot there may never be the chance to rebuild that bridge…the burner may also choose to move on.
Personally, I do my best at allowing the bridges to be rebuilt. It is not uncommon though for me to post the rules for crossing the bridge at the entrance, and this helps prevent a reoccurrence.