Friday, January 17, 2014

Denny's Forgiveness Experience

In my previous blog, I asked if someone would write about their experience of forgiveness. This came from Denny.

* * * * *

From preschool to junior high I shared a bedroom with my brother who was four years older than I. I was a "late bloomer" and Matt delighted in ridiculing my sexual immaturity. He insisted that I was less than fully male.

Because of a disability from birth I never attended a gym class, was excused from military service, seldom experienced a locker room as an adolescent or adult. So I believed his words that I was unacceptable as a man. This perceived defect goes far beyond the physical. It has warped my emotional, mental, social, and spiritual view of myself.

Consequently, the relationship between my brother and me has been shallow and cool. We never discussed his abuses. He may have wondered why I remained distant. I think he knew.

About a year ago Matt was hospitalized. During the recovery from surgery an internal infection went undetected. There were several setbacks. After many weeks of hospitalization he was transferred to an inpatient facility where another problem was detected and he was hospitalized again. He eventually died.

I had seen counselors, dealing with impaired masculinity issues, depression, and other struggles. Through counseling and Celebrate Recovery, I realized that none of us deserves forgiveness.

While Matt was hospitalized following surgery I phoned his room. As our conversation neared an end I realized there was no guarantee that there would be more conversations. I told Matt that I loved him. It was the only time in my memory that I had ever said it.

There was a long pause, then he said, "I love you, too, Denny."


Anonymous said...

I was not familiar with the term "impaired masculinity," but that is an apt description. In my case it came from being psychologically abused by being told I would never hold a job, amount to anything--made to feel worthless. No affirmation from a father or father figure. I went to school; came home. Went to church; came home.

It was not very long ago that I realized that was the way I was kept under the absolute control of the man in the home.

So, yes, even thought my situation was different, I certainly suffered from impaired masculinity.

Roger Mann said...

John Joseph responded to Denny's post in an email. Here are his comments: "Wow. Brings tears as I recall my own final visit with my brother when he was dying. He asked my forgiveness for the years of full on sexual abuse. I had forgiven long before, but the wounds linger still. Please thank Denny for sharing this!"