Looking back on the moment when Anna asked me if I could really forgive her, I must admit that we both learned a lot about life. My reaction to the question was “Sure I forgive you, how could I not?”
I hadn’t even thought about it; I wanted her back in the worst possible way and forgiving or not wasn’t in my mind at all. The truth is, now that I knew what happened, I didn’t think any of it was her fault anyway. But in the ensuing conversation, the whole concept of forgiveness became clear to me: If you love somebody and commit to them, forgiveness must be by default. Love is much more than a feeling, and it has more to do with the other person than with you (or me in this case). If I love you and commit to you, then my concern must always be for you, not for me. So, if you mess up, I forgive you, because I’m not concerned for myself. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you forgive and put yourself in harm’s way when the other person is violent, dangerous or criminal; nothing like that was at issue here. Love, then must be selfless or it will be self-love, like ‘I love the way I feel when I’m in love,’and you don’t need a partner for that. Maybe you’ll think I’m crazy, but that’s how I see it…
At any rate, we talked for about an hour. Anna told me that she still wanted to marry me, and would do it right now. I called Phil and asked him if he would be willing to come over to the house that evening and marry us; he was absolutely delighted at the prospect. Before we hung up he asked me if it would be all right if he brought a few people who might like to share in our happiness. I said sure, if anybody can come on such short notice.
I put the ring back on Anna’s finger and asked her if she would be willing to marry me at 6:30 that evening, and it was set. She made me promise that I would stay at her side every minute between now and then, just less than 3 hours away, and of course I agreed. As it turned out she meant that somewhat more literally than I imagined, but I was happy to accommodate.
After she gathered up her things, we went downstairs to her nervous parents, who were overjoyed when they realized that Anna was her old self agin; I stepped out of the way of their joyous hugs and all. Then Anna told them we were getting married at 6:30 that evening and asked them to come. They were uneasy, but agreed.
For me, the final joy of the visit was when Anna turned to me and said, “Robby, can you take me home now?”
“Your house” had finally become “home.”