I tell you, over the years, I have had my issues with Facebook. In this world of ours, it seemed to only facilitate narcissism, online bullies and inappropriate dialog. I am the first skeptic and will probably be the last. However, a recent event on Facebook has me rethinking things a bit.
Back in my college days, I had my fair share of roommates….and when I think of it, I never really did have one good one out of the six or so I went through. My roommates were neither friends nor friendly for the most part, and while they were consumed with parties, drinking and boys, my mind was on the love of my life, finishing college so I could marry him. My life during college years was more goal-oriented, and driven. Theirs was not. I have thought and prayed for these women over the years, hoping that God in His wisdom will look after them, and guide them to where He wants them to be.
And that was it. I let it all go. I let go the late night parties in my apartment. I let go the hours I would have to clean up after them. I let go of my roommates going through my dresser drawers, using whatever they found. I let go the boys that would be banging on my front door all hours of the day and night, simply so these girls could play their games of heartbreak. I even let go the day I found pot growing in my roommates bedroom by her window. I said goodbye to those awful days, and said hello to my new found life with my husband, our new beginning.
I never thought I’d ever hear from these ladies ever again. I found gratitude when thinking back to those moments, that I had my HH to be there, talking sense into me, and encouraging me to finish and graduate so we could be together.
Then, yesterday. I had a friend request and went online to confirm it. Then, I clicked around a bit, as I rarely have time to spend on FB. And I saw a message from back in August, from one of these college gals who found me again.
It was a twilight zone for me. I couldn’t believe my eyes, as I read what she wrote to me. Knowing, she would never be a fan or follower, I feel comfortable in posting what she wrote:
Hello ——, I hope that you are well. I’m pretty sure you remember me as a dark spot at the end of college. The way I behaved has been bothering me for the longest time, especially since I’ve never found the opportunity to apologize. I’m glad that I was able to find you on here. I’m really sorry that I was acting so immaturely and hope that you can forgive me for my childish and rude behavior. Best Regards ——-
Let me tell you, this one gal, did start as a friend, a truly intellectually gifted girl who had a four year scholarship, and would’ve breeze through in only three years. She was smart, I mean, really smart. She graduated two years early from high school. She was only 16 when starting college. Studying always came easy for her, and I thought for sure, we’d get along, she’d even inspire me to work harder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case. She began friendships with a daily drug users, beginning with pot, and moving to more serious drugs as time went on. She began to cut class, then drop out completely. She joked one day with me, “You know, I hope when you see me on the street, begging for money, you’ll be kind.”
I didn’t know what to say, but I wanted to challenge her and I said, “I’m not sure. I’ll know you, and the opportunities you had at your finger tips, that you blew away. You did it to yourself.”
Her life took drastic turns as money became the issue to gain her next drug fix, and she resorted to “massage” parlors where she waited for a phone call before going to work, just in case the police had showed up. Her career escalated from there, working at gentleman’s clubs, where more money would often lead to prostitution.
I cried for this girl. You hear these stories, and can’t believe it actually happens. Well it does. I saw it before my very eyes. She lost her own mother to cervical cancer when she was a very young girl, and without her mother, to guide her, she fell, and she fell hard.
I had to get away from this environment. It was dangerous, and I did fear her circle of friends, whenever they visited. I spent more and more time at my own work, asking for more waitressing shifts, or spending time in the University library. Upon graduating I moved out quickly, and waited the next few short months to be my HH’s bride. Like I said, college years were put all behind me.
Society would have us believe that “It’s too late to apologize”, even popular songs sing about it…. and yes, my instinct is to reject her, this woman who wreaked havoc in my life. I want to scream at her, for letting her life slip by her, for years of making bad choices, for hurting people in her life and mine. I want to push this message to the edges of a cliff and demand more, demand those years back, demand the respect I never saw from her. I want to be angry at her. But I can’t. I can’t demand those things, it’s impossible. Do I want to hurt her, even now?
No. I don’t. I see my life now, I see new levels of gratitude for how God must have protected me and my life back then. I see with wiser eyes.
And so I thought long and hard about a good response for her, on FB. Perhaps her life is changed. Perhaps a 12 step program has her finding people from her past, to apologize, to own up to what happened, to ask for forgiveness. How could I begrudge her in her own attempts at healing? So, here’s what I typed out:
Hi ——–Gosh had I seen this message back in August I surely would have replied then! I have weird security controls on this FB and it never notifies me of a message. Of course, I remember you, and this note is really appreciated, I never thought I’d ever hear from you. I would never reject an apology, and so if it helps give you any peace, please know, all is forgiven, and has been for many years. Life is too short to hold grudges. I hope you are doing well in life, you deserve good things, take care, ——
What happens from here, who knows. Probably nothing. If I gave her any peace, about the past, like I said, then I feel good about it. It does make you think, the timing of things. That message had been there since the summer and I never saw it. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been as forgiving, not sure. But I do believe God has a timing for things, and for her, perhaps a message of hope and healing will help her move forward, give her a kind of closure (if that’s not too cliché).
And then I think of Facebook. Would she have been able to find me otherwise? Nothing has my maiden name on it anymore, she never would have found me. She never would have been able to give her apology. I never would have been able to tell her, things were let go of long ago. I never would have been able to tell her, it’s over, it’s forgiven. And hearing that, can be extremely powerful in a person’s life. Perhaps she can move an inch in the right direction and in the end, isn’t that one inch more important than miles and miles in the wrong one?
Lord, you put people in our path for reasons unknown to us, sometimes. I hope to be an example of what real forgiveness looks like, what real hope can be. Lord, bless this woman from years past, who I hope and pray, has found a sliver of your peace, through the simple act of asking for forgiveness. Help her make good decisions for her future, and help her to resolve her own demons.
Copyright 2011 Sahmatwork