7 Times 1: How Many Times Shall I Forgive My Brother?

 

My wife and I are supposed to be budgeting our money and saving
I’ve intentionally taken out money that was meant to be spent on things for my family
I spent it on junk food because it was what I wanted to do

For years I slept with whoever would sleep with me not because I loved them
But because I loved the way it made me feel
I didn’t care what happened to them

I’ve held grudges for decades against people
The worse ones were against my own family
My own mother and father who created me
My grudges often were expressed as violence to them

One time a good-friend came to my house with his new girlfriend
We drank together and then out of sheer desire to inflict pain
I slapped him across the face in front of his new girlfriend

Again and again I’ve avoided conflict with my first daughter’s mother
Not because I thought it was the right thing to do
But because I was afraid to stand up for myself
And say the the right thing
When I couldn’t avoid conflict
I exploded in angry words and hatred
And I often looked at the things she was doing
And declared what she was doing as wrong
When my own choices were worse

I lied to my wife for a year about spending money on alcohol
I was getting drunk and she did not know it
In fact I didn’t tell anyone I was getting drunk
Unless it was obvious that I was completely drunk and not going to get away with it

One time this scrawny gay junky was getting beaten up
Because he allegedly sold drugs to somebody’s sister
Three guys beat him severely
I saw it happen, I heard his screams for help
and I did nothing because I was afraid

I’ve lied in bed at nights worrying about the future
Worrying about what will happen to me
Always my thoughts were on me and my desires for my life
When they could have easily been directed towards
What can I do for others

When I’ve found my children to be annoying
I’ve yelled at them instead of speaking kindly to them
I’ve yelled at my wife in front of them
Because, again, I was trying to save myself from the pain of a bruised ego
Instead of seeing them and loving them

I’ve held onto all these things in order to prove to myself
That I am not a good person
And I’ve used it to make myself hate myself

Not 7x, but 77x and more

My wife has held me in her arms and let me cry
and has cried by my side
She’s taken care of our children and our home
And has helped me to change my habits

I get to spend each day surrounded by
My loving-family
My children are excited when I come home from work
I get to read them stories and kiss them goodnight

My parents have helped me in many times of need
They cared for me in their home for 18 years
After I moved out they still did what they could to support me
as well as my younger sisters

My good-friend has invited me to be a groomsmen in his wedding
He has been kind enough to help me get back into writing poetry
He has given me opportunities that I didn’t think I would ever have

My first daughter’s mother has continued to work with me
To make good decisions for our daughter even though we are not together
We’ve resolved many conflicts in order to move forward
In a positive way

I’ve stopped drinking in order to function better as a husband
Father, friend, and as a general member of society
It’s been bittersweet but for the best
My wife and my friends have been there to help me
Make good decisions

A decade ago I was drunk at a party and got beaten up
And a stranger was kind enough to watch after me and take care of me
Till I could think clearly again when the sun rose

There are hard days and many choices to make
There are sleepless nights that I worry
But tomorrow comes and it will keep coming
And there is always one good thing to remind me
That there is love in this world

And when I came home
My Father put a ring on my finger
And sandals on my feet
He killed the fatted-calf
And we celebrated
L’Chaim!

 

Andrew Borne is 34 years old and lives in Peabody, MA with his beloved family. He enjoys poetry and has been published in Teen Ink, Boston Literary Magazine, and of course Oddball Magazine.

 

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