Words of Hope: The Forgiveness Journey- Part 2

One of my Dad’s and my favorite writers, Henri Nouwen writes, “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Shann also addressed his bitterness towards his father during this journey of awakening into holistic ways of living. At first, he didn’t believe he had any resentment. Dad told him it didn’t matter that he felt none; he had the symptoms of bitterness: emotional distance and flat affect. Shann agreed he had emotional distance from his family and a flat affect toward anger and tears. He chose to explore the recommendations my father outlined for him. Shann made a goal to spend time in prayer to ask for memories and feelings he had buried long ago. For a year, Shann wrote daily in his journal any emerging images, snapshots, or memories from his past. After journaling each day, he would write I John 1:9 across the page. Then he would pray God would forgive him for his bitterness and anger towards his father; he asked God to forgive his father for the harm his Dad caused the family. Shann asked God to lead his family into healing and gracefulness. 

As he worked through his past, memories emerged he had previously buried. As he accessed these memories, he discovered heightened senses and a larger spectrum of his emotions. As the year progressed, he began to feel again. He began to cry, and surprisingly, he began to feel what genuine love for his father felt like. 

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:9-12