A childhood friend of mine recently reached out to me after many years of righteous silence. The kind of silence that adds a deeper shade of shame and it penetrates deeply into my sordid world.
His words backed by biblical proof and the seemingly indifference of the laughter, joy and memories we shared together for so many years. It seemed impossible the years of experiences and memories had added up to this.
I often wondered how he explained away my existence so easily.
He seemed to hold the proof of my poor choices of a wicked sinner that will be sentenced to a life of eternal damnation. A stupid choice from such a simple menu of ideas and beliefs, mixed with his sense of assuredness that only the chosen few have the right to express so arrogantly.
A long slow burn of a jaded soul painted black.
Black like the night or a fire pit on a cold, frigid morning.
His voice on the phone however, seemed different this time.
A familiar voice brought back to life by a change of heart.
I immediately felt at ease. We quickly moved from the talk of our daily jobs and moved backwards and forwards towards our life of our memories and laughter. It moved effortlessly from picture to picture. Almost as though a brilliant film director decided to do a short documentary film on the story of us: How a man can change his mind about the past and heal the present by witnessing another man's pain and torment. An atonement of sorts of an afflicted man.
We talked for hours. Our minds flooded with hilarious scenarios and outrageous laughter. I could barely keep up with his quick wit and photographic memory. I slowly brought him up to speed on my own life experiences. He seemed surprised I had traveled into so many dark holes and stepped upon so many land mines.
It felt good to be heard and validated.
I didn't seem to mind what he had said to and about me in the past.
I also didn't forget it.
It seemed to place a marker on just how far we can go when we stop trying to be "right" and truly listen to another human being. I could feel my right to exist in his memory and slowly coming back to life in mine. The painful memories came out of the darkness and into the light of day. A healing balm slowly covered up the empty years.
It's easy to forgive the truth.
Even if your right.