Moving On, The Gift of Forgiveness

July 14, 2020

By Tammy Davis


A friend recently saw her ex for the first time in years. It was time to make peace.  Past time really.

She saw his truck when she pulled into the church parking lot.  She wanted to turn around but made herself find a spot and go inside. She knew where he would be sitting, in the same spot where they always sat together. She was relieved the new wife wasn’t there.

She took a few steps in, touched him on the shoulder and said, “Good morning.” She only heard the last few syllables of his reply.  Surprise has a way of making your words not come out right.  She found a different Sunday-morning spot and sat down. Her hand was trembling as she fumbled with the program and tried to mark the first hymn.

My friend didn’t hear a word of the sermon, but she got a message loud and clear as she sat in that church, the church where they married and Christened their babies.  She had wasted too many years being angry and sad. She did not want to be that person any more.

She got to him before he made his way into the line to shake the preacher’s hand and asked if they could chat.

He told her she looked beautiful. She liked that.  She almost said he looked awful, but since she was in the house of the Lord, she kept that to herself.

Instead she said something profound. She told him he should consider it a great compliment that she had such a hard time moving on. Her anger and confusion and sadness were a testament to how much she loved him and how much she loved their life together. She couldn’t understand how he could let her go, but it didn’t matter anymore. It was time for her to make peace.

His eyes teared. He said he didn’t know what to say. She told him there was nothing for him to say.  That was the truth.

There was no drama that morning.  The whole thing was very logical – like a step in a process that needed to happen. She did not want to hold anger or confusion or bitterness any more. She wanted her heart to be open and free.

We all know that forgiveness is not for the other person. It is a gift you gift yourself. Her ex-husband had moved on years ago. My friend was stuck, and she was the only one who could get herself un-stuck. She had been in the gutter for years, but she pulled herself out and made her way to higher ground. I’m proud of her. It took great courage to do what she did, and she’s better for it. Her ex did not deserve the graceful way she handled that moment of closure, but that’s ok.  For once, things had been on her terms.

It’s easy to stay in victim mode. Rather than asking, “Why me?” the better question to ask is, “What’s next?”  My friend was finally able to do that.

It’s easy wallow in the gutter, but the higher ground is a much better path for us all.


Tammy Davis is a southern writer and teacher, finding lessons in everyday life. Visit her website at Find a chapter about dating and divorce in Davis’s new book, Back Porch Stories.