"Please forgive me," I said again, and added, "I wish I had listened." As I pressed the "end" button and slid the phone back in my pocket, I realized that she had already forgiven me, and she had just been waiting for me to reach the place where I could forgive myself. A long chapter of our lives had come to an end. There was nothing left to be fixed, to be changed. I could live in the promise of today and in the hope of tomorrow. I am going to do something that would've been impossible not so long ago. I am going to reflect on my life honestly, clearly, without blinking or looking away. No matter how sordid the details or how painful the remembering, it's important for me to honor and even celebrate the path that led me here. I'm doing it for myself, to document my journey. I'm doing it for my children because, of all that I have and all that I wish for them, our greatest gift to our children is our walk with God. And I'm sharing it with you because when we look back at the chapters of our lives, there's at least one that was so horrible that we were afraid it would be the last chapter. I call this chapter "Michael" -- maybe you've named yours after a husband or wife, a parent, an addiction or some other disease. Maybe you're going through that chapter right now.
Despite the superficial differences, all these chapters share a rock-bottom sense of despair and hopelessness. In my Michael chapter, I feared for my family and for my life. There were so many days I was sure I couldn't go on, and almost as many days when I didn't want to. But things change when we change -- and not a moment before.
We forgive, we are forgiven, we grow, and we go on. Sometimes change is hard to see. I suppose it's like Buddy in his bed, on the morning of New Year's Day. One day the bed swallows him up and then, before you know it, you wonder how the bed can hold him. That's how life is. One day it may seem it is too much to handle; that all of our efforts to change have gone in vain -- then oh so suddenly we find ourselves transformed and we are bursting at the seams, with joy.