I was certain I had forgiven him, just as I had forgiven myself. I no longer replay the events in my mind. I have tried my best to stop the slander. Though at times, my mouth still does seem to have a mind of its own. But I do not seek revenge nor wish him harm. So yes, I had forgiven him.
American Psychological Association states forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt'.
Forgiveness had been a hard journey but as I dust myself off I can give myself a pat on the back. I had forgiven my former husband. Many are not able to come to this turning point but I have. Many have stuffed their emotions and are blind to the embers still burning. I was certain that God had helped me and I was free. Resentment wasn’t hiding within this heart and than it happened. Connor’s first tooth became loose.
As I anticipate the event and my scrapbook page, I take note of the weekend approaching. The boys will be spending it with my former husband. Something rises up with in me and I realize I must get that tooth. He can’t have it. It’s mine.
With the tooth still intact and the weekend soon upon us, I find myself wiggling multiply times a day and fighting the urge to give it a good tug. I want the tooth. He can’t have it. He doesn’t deserve it!
There is was. The hidden ember. I was certain that I had resolved all matters with my former husband but this tooth upset would suggest otherwise. How could it be that I had stuffed my unforgiveness? How is it that my heart believes that the father doesn’t deserve the first tooth of his youngest son?
As I sit in the realization that I had stuffed my hurt and that I am not yet okay, I felt the hand of God challenge me to leave the tooth alone and allow my former husband this gift. I also felt challenged to expose more of this small ember, that really wasn’t so small after all and allow God to continue healing my heart.
When the boys came home from their weekend visit, I must confess that I was relieved that the tooth was still in place. But I left it as is and fought the urge to try and snatch it. I still wanted it but I wanted the remaining ember to burn out more. Not leaving a trace of bitterness or any ugly resentment.
Although the tooth was still intact after the weekend visit, it was not in place after an evening out with Dad, later that week. My former husband did, in the end, receive the gift of his youngest son’s first tooth. I don’t know what was harder. Letting it go or seeing my truth. My former husband did deserve the tooth and my God needed me to know that. And my God needed me to know that He isn’t finished with me, my heart or my mess.
If there is one thing that I have learned about my God throughout this divorce, it is that when I am wrecked and don’t know it, He is happy to point it out. It amazes me that He used a baby tooth to show me what was still lingering on the inside. That He loves me enough to insist that I purge the poison, that will eventually cause me greater pain if left alone.