Redemption & the Willingness to Let Go

They say to write about what you know. So it’s not a coincidence that I chose redemption as both a blog topic and a book theme.

By redemption I’m not talking about just the religious, throw-yourself-at-the foot-of-the-cross-or-prayer-mat kind of way. Those work, absolutely. But people go after it in all sorts of ways. I did, And my characters are.

To reclaim my self-respect, I had to deal with another R word, as in “are you willing?” For me, I had to be willing to let go of what other people did or did not do to me and instead focus on what I did. Not just to them, but to me, too. Damage is damage. Hurt people hurt people, as they say. And hurting people hurts us.

I wasn’t willing. Holding on to perceived indignities and ill-informed but no less rabid judgments made me feel superior, in a desolately lonely kind of way. Being right felt so wrong. (So does delusion.)

“Redemption comes to those who wait.

Forgiveness is the key.”

tom petty

Nothing was gonna happen to fix my relationships until I’d had enough of feeling like crap. I had to learn to forgive others before I could forgive myself, which is a pretty arrogant thing to say now, considering I’ve since discovered it was almost always me who had caused the mess. A mess for which I condemned them to suffer the absence of my radiant presence. (Epilogue: They celebrated as soon as I left the room.)

But enough about me. This theme is everywhere, across myriad media.

If you’re interested, here’s a few places where the theme of redemption hangs out:

Redemption in Fiction

  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Redemption in Film

  • Just Mercy
  • Unbroken
  • Wonder

Redemption in Visual Art

Road to Redemption by Victor Bregeda

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Published by Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer

Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer is a content writer and author of two children's books and a board book series for young children. She's currently working on her first novel.

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