I had been told I’d been too demanding. Relying too much on friends. Constantly needing to email and talk. I’ve told before about how I felt guilty about this behavior and how I tried to change.

A few times I asked for boundaries, thinking I needed firm guidelines, but was told I was always welcome to come to the shop. I could email, but would not always receive a response.

Better direction might have helped.

And yet I could not stop feeling terrible, believing that the hurtful way things had gone must be my fault. I begged forgiveness for my part, and offered forgiveness for how I’d been hurt.

But forgiveness was not given or received. Instead, I was told in an email that when people are being themselves, nothing needs to be forgiven. However, when I look at that answer, it doesn’t make sense. I think that what you are and what you do are two different things. When what you do is hurtful to others, forgiveness needs to be involved.

I emailed someone who had been hurting me: “I can’t stand feeling the pain, not knowing whether you’ve forgiven me for being so much at you. Am myself often haunted by the many ways in which I’ve felt your rejection.”

Forgiveness was a topic I would explore for the next few years.

Why was it so hard for a person to forgive me when I begged for it—when I needed it to help me move on? And why would a person who hurt me not want to be forgiven?