There is a very inspiring TV program that I like watching each week. Secret Millionaire on Channel 4 has super rich people going to the most deprived areas of our country trying to find people and causes to help. This week Sue Stone went to Coventry and discovered a world she did not recognise.
This program touched me on several levels, from the time she said the words, "Let go of the past and live for the now". Things I have done that I have been unable to forgive myself for still hang round me like a shroud. No matter how hard I try, I still beat myself up daily with guilt and regrets.
All of this emotion takes its toll. Although I try to live my life the best way possible, to make amends for my past, life is still a struggle. I still don't feel I deserve the good things in my life. In fact I probably try to "put a spanner in the works" if things go too well. A trait that has followed me through life. When will I learn to forgive myself and "Live life for the now"?
When Sue arrived undercover in Coventry, she landed in a rented house that appalled her. My first rented property up here was very similar. So damp the paper was peeling off the walls. Plaster was laying where it fell. The dank stairway only had a light switch at the top of the stairs, which meant you crept up in the dark to go to bed. Or in my case on a mattress on the floor. An old gas cooker that was either on or off with no control meant meals were either cold or hot, but not cooked. I had no washing machine, and getting the bedding clean meant soaking it in the bath before hauling it outside to dry - if it was not raining. Add to this I was also living on benefits for the first time in my life. Though for me this seemed fair and proper. I deserved punishment.
Like Sue I went out and found some volunteer work. First at a local drop in where I helped prepare and serve cheap meals. This meant I also had 2 hot meals a week, but more importantly I made friends that I still have today. Life was hard but I enjoyed helping people that may have been having a worse time than I was.
Now my life is very different. I own my small comfortable home with bed, washing machine, tumble dryer and computer. Although not rich by any means, I still like to support my community and help others who may be having a rough time. I have a lovely circle of friends who care about me.
Yesterday I sent a birthday card and present to a granddaughter I have never seen. A gift she may never receive from someone she does not know exists. Does letting go of the past mean letting go of her and my 2 daughters who have wanted nothing to do with me for the last 7 years? If this is the price of true happiness, is the cost too high? Every one needs hope in their lives. Maybe they will never forgive me, but is is time to forgive myself?