Principles of Miracles, P 13
13 Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so they alter the temporal order. They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.
I saw this miracle most clearly in my relationship with my mom. When I was younger I held a lot of grievances against Mom. I kept a tally of all her errors and went over it periodically. It was a very useful list when I felt guilty for something. I could always find the cause of my bad behavior to be something my mom did to make me the way I was. I even found a therapist to say this was true, thus making it official. Its funny now to realize how much I bought into this idea, but at the time it seemed true to me and very natural. After all, most people I knew agreed with this way of thinking.
I got older and had kids of my own. I began to make mistakes raising them, and some of my mistakes seemed a whole lot worse than anything on the list of my mom’s errors. I began to see Mom differently. I began to feel like I judged her too harshly because I didn’t understand how easy it is to make bad choices as a parent. I still had my list and I still felt like she was the reason for my errors, but I didn’t hold it against her so much. After I began the study of the Course I started seeing our relationship differently, but I was a long way from giving up the idea of projection, and Mom was still a handy scapegoat a lot of time.
By the time I really began to absorb what the Course was telling me about projection and began to accept it as true in every case, my mom was much older and she had Alzheimer’s. Our communication was severely limited. At one time I wrote an article about my love and my admiration for her, and when I went to the nursing home to see her I read it to her. She was not able to talk to me by this time, but I could tell she was happy to hear it. She paid attention to me, and though she didn’t seems to know who we were to each other, she could understand me, and she enjoyed hearing about this mother who was appreciated.
I read that article to her more than once because it was the only time I could tell that she was with me, really hearing me. It seemed to make her happy. Slowly she retreated into herself more and more as the disease took her brain function and it became harder and harder for me to be with her. I was also sorry that I had lost all chance to tell her how wrong I had been to judge her and how much I loved her and respected her. I felt so awful when I saw her in that condition and so guilty for my past behavior and for waking up to that behavior too late. It became excruciatingly painful to visit her and so I went less and less often, which just increased the guilt.
This is when the miracle occurred. I began to talk to mom in my mind. I told her all the things I wished I could tell her. I reviewed the list of grievances and I let the memories of those circumstances come to me. I was able to look at them with new eyes, with the eyes of forgiveness. These were not planned episodes, but simply happened from time to time. I would be driving along and suddenly would be knocked flat by a vivid memory of what happened. I would then, with the Holy Spirit’s help, forgive the whole thing and let it fade away.
By the time Mom died I had withdrawn those projections and was so clear of any anger or resentment that I was able to conduct her funeral. I had very little feelings of grief and was free to remember her fondly and to express my love and admiration for her while still laughing at her foibles. I love thinking about that funeral because it was proof of how much healing had occurred.
While the healing itself was taking place I realized that I did not have to be communicating body to body with my mom. When I had moments like the one in my car I knew that this communication was as real as any we had when we were together talking to each other. In fact it was more honest and real than our past communication. I held nothing back; there were no words to limit our communication. That was a revelation.
The second thing that I got to experience is this principle of miracles. We used the present to undo the past and thus released the future. I cannot say what it meant to mom, but those moments of forgiveness healed the guilt in my mind and set me free. They also led me to this present moment when I would begin to realize that guilt is not real. Each moment of guilt that I allowed to be healed was teaching me this one lesson. I could let go of guilt because I made it. I made guilt up and so I could turn away from it knowing it was not real.
After Mom died I had moments of intense grief that lasted for about a year. Something would trigger a thought of mom and I would see another memory in my mind, but this time, instead of being a memory of a grievance I held against Mom, it would be a memory of something I did to Mom that I had never forgiven myself for doing. One time I saw a woman eating alone in a restaurant. She kind of looked like my mom and she seemed very lonely eating all by herself, and kind of sad. Suddenly I was flooded with memories of not being there for mom, of times when she called me and I didn’t have time for her.
The shame and regret were so intense I had to leave the restaurant. I didn’t make it to the hotel before I had to pull over and just cry and cry. I absolutely had to call on the Holy Spirit to look with me because it was too intense and too painful to look alone, and I knew I had to look if I ever wanted to be healed, to forgive myself. These moments happened a number of times before I was able to let them all go and to accept full forgiveness.
I thought I was grieving my mom, and surely I regretted not having her with me anymore, but the grief was really guilt looking for release. As painful as they were, I am grateful for those moments because again I was able to experience the miracle of forgiveness as in the present moment the past was undone and the future was released. Now that all is forgiven I am free, and free to love without needing anything from Mom, (not even her forgiveness) which is really the only way to experience love.