Tuesday night I was visiting with Michelle and Virginia and Virginia was sharing an experience she had with her brother-in-law which she later wrote out for me and gave me permission to write here. It went like this:
The conversation was about my brother-in-law being so sad and regretful about how he treated my sister, his wife and I said, “So tell her now. She is in a far better position to receive and accept your love and sorrow now. It won’t be overshadowed by her hurt and sorrow and pain. It doesn’t matter whether you say the prayer now or years from now. It is always the here and now, the always present now in heaven because there is no time dimension in heaven.”
The reason Virginia’s sharing impacted me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it is because I instantly related to her brother-in-law’s pain and regret! For the last 20 months I’ve experienced so much intense pain, regret, and anguish over all the big and little things I’d done to hurt Bernadette when she was alive, things that I never really had a chance to say sorry to her for. Oh I’d say sorry at the time for some things, but in general I’ve still been haunted with so much regret and no way to express it to her. The memories kept coming up and coming up and even though through my tears I’d express my intense sorrow over and over and over, it just felt like my tears and words and anguish vanished into thin air like an evaporating cloud.
The advice Virginia gave her brother-in-law put into action and helped me to SEE and understand a few different things from Peter Kreeft’s book Everything You Wanted to Know about Heaven one of which is where he said:
Understanding and love are the two absolute values, according to the insights of the philosophers, the revelations of the prophets, and the experiences of the resuscitated and the mystics. Both are required for true society, Heavenly or earthly. We cannot understand without loving them, and we cannot love them without understanding them.
Virginia’s advice was like a healing ointment for a festering wound. A wound that wasn’t there yet when I first read Kreeft’s book! But suddenly I understood that Bernadette is also in a far better position to receive and accept my love and sorrow now. It won’t be overshadowed by her hurt and sorrow and pain – and in her case limited also by her tender age.
Maybe now I can finally put that endless cycle of sorrow, regret, and self-torture to rest! Or at the very least, the next time it comes up, I can remind myself that Bernadette is not only in a far better position to receive and accept my sorrow, but that she does forgive me because she is living in the eternal now. There is no unforgiveness in heaven, and no grudges because there is full understanding and love. The more I remind myself of this truth, the sooner the cycle will end and my soul will find peace. I can only hope.
And what’s exciting about this process is that if I can truly believe that Bernadette understands and loves and forgives me – how much MORE then does God – and not just about Bernadette but about everything I’ve done that’s ‘missed the mark’ !!!!!!!!
So, thank you, Virginia!!!!