Do you remember Lex, from last week’s post? The guy who spread around that we had sex in exchange for financing my script? And that led me to shutting down my production company operations? Well, for years after that lie he had been bugging me for forgiveness, and although I did not want to see his face, ever again, I was spiritually working on my mercy. No kidding, while studying the Kabbalah for the fifth year, I had made a list of five people that hurt me bad and I needed to – somehow – forgive. Even if it was just inside of me. Lex was on the list, the damage he had caused me still very alive. I needed to heal the wound, so I could free myself from the pain - and there was just one thing I could do: I needed to forgive him.
A Second Chance
In February 2015, when we bumped into each other at the American Film Market (AFM), that we both attended for professional reasons, I reluctantly agreed to have coffee with him. I was at a completely different place in my life: I had moved to Los Angeles with my two teenage daughters, I had a steady boyfriend, I was working on a new book and living the life I had desired for a very long time. Like sunsets with my family on weekend trips. In other words, I was fulfilled. Therefore, ready to forgive.
“I am so very sorry for what I did to you,” was the first thing that came out of his mouth as he saw me. I just listened to everything he had to say about his journey, how he had changed into a spiritually guided soul, seeking peace and forgiveness from the people he hurt in the past. To be very honest with you, I still wanted to punch him in the face. Forgiveness, Laura, forgiveness, I would repeat to myself. Everybody deserves a second chance.
To forgive is to trust again
After listening to Lex talk and explain himself for 40 minutes, I opened up a little bit to him about raising two kids alone and how low his lie hit me back then. By the end of that conversation, he told me that he felt guilty. He begged me for forgiveness. He wanted to mend his wrongdoing.
“Let me make it up to you. I want to introduce you to someone who is just like you, a strong woman, also an immigrant, intelligent, beautiful, someone who I can totally see becoming your good friend.”
I got intrigued and afraid at the same time.
“Ok, put us in touch,” I mumbled.
“Come have lunch with us tomorrow? Her husband is my business partner and I am coming to their Malibu house”, he invited.
I was on the fence. He sounded sincere, but what if it was a trap?
“How do I know that you will not start a new lie, Lex?”
“You don’t. You will have to trust me. But let me tell you: I will never lie to you again, Laura. I am a very different person at a completely distinct stage of my life. I have learned my lessons and I respect you deeply.”
“Text me the address and I will get back to you soon, confirming if I can make it.”
I needed time to think as I found myself at a forgiveness crossroads: would forgiving him in my heart be enough, or did I need to give him a chance to repair the damage? Well, as I am someone who has a very clear golden rule - to never regret what I have done, but only what I have not tried - I ended up driving all the way to Malibu. That day, Lex introduced me not only to a friend, but a soul sister and a business partner who is, along with my boyfriend at the time, the person who helped me the most since I arrived in Los Angeles.
The moment Maggie and I met, we became friends, and I felt like I started to build a family in the city of angels. She looked straight into my soul with her piercing blue eyes and saw my struggles; and recognized some of her own fights. Although we had very different stories, we had a lot in common: the fight for an equal female experience and a safer place on this planet, the battle to get there, the desire to pass it on to our daughters, the heavy lifting that it is being a woman in a male dominated society, the need to take care of our planet, animals and each other.
Over the years, our friendship grew organically. We travelled together, we worked together, we laughed and cried together. Maggie is one of the most precious souls I have had the pleasure of connecting with. She is really a gift in my life that would never have happened if I had not forgiven Lex. So, just some food for thought: when and if people come around their mistakes, we should always give them a second chance. Not a third and a fourth, just a second. But with an open heart.
Lex hired me for some consultancy jobs and could finally see my talent as a writer and content developer. We kept a friendly relationship and a strong business collaboration. He could finally see past my “book cover”, and he read me right this time.
After some resentment and internal quarrels with myself, I look back at my journey and see how much people who hurt me in the past made me stronger and better. At this point, I only have to thank them and wish them well.
At the end of the day, thanks to forgiveness, I won a precious friend this time around. So, just saying, you never know what life will bring you next. To stay open is the biggest lesson of my 40s, that is a given. To forgive, from inside out, is a life lesson.