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Season of Forgiveness

By Stacie Chadwick

Reading between the Pines
When I was 2 years old my parents got divorced. I was lucky in a way, because at the time I was too young to understand that separation, at its most basic level, is the physical manifestation of pain being split in two.

By the time I’d turned 5, mom had remarried. Back then, fathers didn’t have the same parenting rights as today, so with a brand-new puppy in my lap, I waved goodbye to my father as my stepdad’s sleek, silver Thunderbird rolled down the driveway, toward an address five states away, and into a new life.

As time went by, pieces of one life became seedlings for another, and when my baby brother was born, my new family was complete. But there was always someone else present who, even though he wasn’t part of this new unit, was still in the mix because he was attached to me – my father.

I wouldn’t say things were perfect between my mother and father, because when bad memories fade, they still leave a scar. But mom always held the door open for visits, and my father never missed an opportunity to take any time with me that she was willing to share.

As years passed and I became increasingly comfortable with my family dynamics, I began to see myself as lucky, even though it wasn’t always easy. I was a Whitten, and everyone else I lived with was a Logan. I sometimes felt like a misfit in the world of seemingly perfect families on my block, painting a smile on my face when all I wanted to do was cry. But intermingled with the sad was something that no other kid I knew could match. Not only did I have one great dad, I had two, with different but equally important ideas, strengths, influences, opinions, and dreams … and one huge commonality. They both loved me in a way that only a father can – times two.

Divorce, like life, is complicated. It’s messy and raw, and carefully drawn colors end up bleeding outside the lines. It’s not easy to forgive. It’s even harder to forget. But in many cases, good can be salvaged from bad. If you can ultimately find happiness in something that at first only brought pain, it’s a gift to yourself that never goes away. Sometimes, with the passage of time, the things that hurt most end up helping us in the end.

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