Lord, my friend thinks I am burdened, the burden a funeral is, all of it focused down on one physical spot. I thought I released all that a few months ago.

You forgave. You truly forgave. But forgiveness and release aren’t the same things. Forgiveness released those others. Forgiveness released your anger—but not your sorrow. And the sorrow continues to be compounded—like opening an old wound, almost every time you go there or have a conversation about it.

Lord, I have tried to be numb to it, but I’m not. I’m just not. So I thought my trying to be understanding and compassionate was walking in forgiveness. No?

Forgiveness says two things: It says, Lord, please release them—which you have done, which you do, over and over. It also asks, Lord, please release me. Your compassion for them is great, both in its commitment and strength, but the burden of the wound is getting deeper and more infected. Remember what forgiveness isn’t: it isn’t permission to keep being a target. You have forgotten the part of the story where forgiving releases you.

But I can’t just leave the situation.

You can leave the conversation. You can bring the focus back to you. You are always deflecting it, trying so hard to calm the waters in their souls. What about your soul?