While rereading and ruminating about this post, I recalled a wonderful, healing experience that happened a couple months ago.
I was working my usual shift and a well-kept man about my age came in and circulated around in my department... eyeballing me curiously. He approached me and asked me for assistance. After talking to him for a couple minutes and giving him the answers he was after, he asked me if my name was (real name). He then asked if I recognized him at all. I did not. As it turns out, he was one of the bullies I mentioned previously. He said, "I've been wanting to tell you how sorry I am for the way I treated you back in school. It was wrong of me...."
We had been pre-teens in a backwards country school with terrible administrators who did very little about problem behaviors at the time. Bullying complaints were not taken seriously, even those involving damage to property & physical harm. It was all chocked up to "kids being kids." Regardless of the his abusive tendencies (learned behavior from home) I still remembered him often since those years and worried about what might have happened to him as a result of the bad influences in his life. He was an intelligent kid, but also one who unknowingly wore his damage where everyone could see it; an angry little boy, sickly on many levels and it was easy to tell that some nasty things were happening to him outside of school.
I told him that I understood why he had been like that and he was forgiven. The guy has seen some horrors in his lifetime yet he still turned out OK! This whole experience blindsided me in the best possible way, leaving me glowing and teary-eyed. The kid came to terms with it all and became a better man! Moments like these are what I need to hold onto, keeping alive my faith in the future and a positive direction for our species.
Yet again I come full circle in some fashion. No matter how many times you go around before, the experience always changes; bringing something newer and better than the last time. Giving up on healing past hurts does not mean that life no longer wants you to have the cure for them. The sardonic realist side of my personality used to whisper in my ear that this stuff only happens in movies, never in every-day life. The cynicism is still there, but it gets quieter and less prominent as time passes. Forgiveness takes on new depth in my life, but there is still more to forgive, I'm working on it. Remember that sometimes when you give up seeking the answer, the answer seeks you out and dumps itself in your lap.