I reconnected with an old boyfriend on Facebook a couple weeks ago. This is a guy I dated about 20 years ago. Normally, I wouldn’t do that, but for this particular relationship, it meant something for me to reconnect to him.
Anyways, 20 years pass, and he goes his own way, different than I expected him to take. But it was his way, and that is all that matters. Now, although he has had significant struggles, he’s much wiser, much stronger and more sure of himself than I have ever seen him to be.
He messaged me today to thank me for introducing him to paganism. I said he was welcome, and then I apologized to him.
I apologized to him because I recognized that even though I was established in my local pagan community at the time, I was still very much a child and didn’t know what I was really doing on an emotional level.
I apologized to him because of things that I now know are hurts I was dealt as a child were things that were significantly clouding my judgement.
I apologized to him for any hurt that I caused him while we were together, because of my childish nature, and because I just didn’t know any better.
I am thankful for his response. It was, “Forgiven, forgotten, friendship extends it’s hand once again. We both had to grow a bit more.”
One down. Maybe a significant number of people more to go.
I didn’t recognize until about 14 years ago that my actions and reactions had anything to do with the fact that I had suffered abuses as a child, that I had not been fully safe and allowed to grow up, or that my view of the world was significantly skewed. And I also didn’t recognize that the skewed views I had affected me from a spiritual perspective.
Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot about Wicca and was (and still am) pretty proud of what I had accomplished. I still formed and ran my own coven for awhile, until I recognized that it was time for me to let it fly on its own. I still helped to develop a pagan study group at a local college. And I still published a pagan article here and there. And I am proud of the work that I accomplished despite my emotional shortcomings.
I however, know there was collateral damage along the way. I damaged friendships, I acted in ways that I didn’t fully understand. And even though there was no malice, it caused hard feelings.
Looking back, I can’t even begin to start figuring out each and every individual action. I can’t begin to understand who it was that I hurt, when I hurt them, how many people I hurt, or how many times. But it is important for me to acknowledge what has been done.
I don’t believe that the actions and reactions from that time fully under my control, so while I did the action, much of it was not purposeful. I was pretty damaged, and I fully admit that. And today, I still have some more of that damage to heal from. But as situations come up, like with my ex, I will do my best to understand, accept, apologize, heal and move on.