Finding Freedom In Forgiveness
I often draw cartoons to express how I feel. You see, anger is this very strong emotion. It can give you drive but it can also destroy you. I can remember when I was very young being so angry at my own father.
He was a strict Chinese man. Old School. He would always compare me to his other friends’ kids. He would yell so loudly at the TV when watching television dramas, even the neighbours would come over and tell us they could hear him two blocks away! He banned me from watching TV for 12 months if I didn't get straight A’s at school consecutively.
It was like, he deliberately made me angry so I can be so driven to prove him wrong... which I did. I would ace all my exams! I was that MAD at him. I vowed to myself to move-out when I graduated. I vowed never to see him again.
Then I turned 22 and I heard my dad got a stroke. My mum called me. I was shocked but at the same time, I didn't want to see him. I was confused and conflicted. He was my dad… but I couldn’t stand him.
Then, one time, I remember listening to Tony Robbins and the lyrics said something about how our parent's behaviour towards 'us' kids is sometimes passed down from their parents. And it's not really their fault.
I realized that my dad's anger was possibly anger passed down to him from my grand-dad and, maybe, anger was passed to my grand-dad from my great grand-dad.
It was like an apple tree that bore fruit or an inter-generational angry seed that replicated itself, a toxic apple of bottled anger passed through the family.
And in that moment, I realised I got this anger because I was so mad at him! Like WOW! What if I passed this down to my kids? What if, I was also part of this tree that kept growing roots of anger. Would I also bear fruits of anger that would be given to my kids.. and their kids and so on..
This epiphany shocked me so much that I vowed to break this generational chain. I couldn’t keep breeding this angry tree. And so, I had to learn to forgive.. and it was hard! But I swallowed my ego and for the next 8 years, I became his full-time caregiver. I used those 8 years to nurture him and take care of him - regardless of who he was.
To be honest, his stroke really mellowed him, and we actually connected for the first time. I would bathe him, cook his meals, puree his food and feed him, and read to him everyday. As for his favourite high octane Chinese dramas, he no longer watched them anymore after his stroke. Perhaps he realized that he was too caught up in TV drama than what was actually in front of him: his family
Whatever it is... Whatever you're going through… if you're angry at someone... maybe your parents… maybe your dad...
I know. It's hard to forgive, especially when you're angry. I get it. But the more you stay angry at someone, the more you grow 'roots' of that anger!
Trust me. You become like a poisonous tree that digs its roots into the ground.
And whatever you produce is just toxic. And life doesn't need to be that way.
I know it’s hard to forgive ‘that’ person, but forgiveness will set you free. Learn to let go. Learn to love again and break that generational hate/anger, because it will UNROOT you and set you free. I hope my cartoon can inspire something in you.