I’ve been wrestling recently with the idea of forgiveness in the midst of these unprecedented times. We find ourselves locked in, sequestered, quarantined, isolated from each other. Many folks have found various ways to handle this time by taking up activities and hobbies, such as; cooking, baking, gardening, cleaning and organizing, painting, reading and writing. These are worthwhile pursuits that deliver some truly amazing results. You produce wonderful meals and treats, works of artistic expression, living spaces that are neat and clean. Again, these are worthwhile results.
What about tackling the idea of forgiveness? Have we taken the opportunity to review our lives and find where we may have hurt someone through our actions or words? Have we looked at what animosities we might continue to harbor that might need to be dealt with and forgiven?
Forgiveness is a tricky thing. For those who have wronged others, the idea of forgiveness seems to indicate a patch or healing of wounds we caused. This gives those who are forgiven a way back into the lives of those they previously were engaged with. For those who have been wronged, the idea of forgiveness is a way of letting go of all the festering anger and resentment that has kept them in turmoil.
The giving and receiving of forgiveness brings about a real change in the nature of relationships gone wrong. The one receiving forgiveness can feel welcomed back into the circle of community with the person they wronged. The one wronged who gives forgiveness can feel released from all that has had them tied up in knots. Forgiveness has the ability to bring healing and wholeness to both parties.
Today, my father would have been 94 years old. He died a number of years ago and there was a rift between us that never quite healed. I wish I had expressed to him my forgiveness for the hurt I felt. We smoothed over our relationship, but the words of forgiveness were never uttered. Today, however, I want to forgive myself for that inaction. I have carried that with me for too long, and I’ve discovered that forgiving one’s self is the best place any of us can start.
During your alone time, which we seem to have quite a bit of right now, if you have things you need to forgive yourself or others for, please do. It makes a world of difference in you, I’m truly a witness to this. Finally, I want to leave you with the words of a true saint, Mother Teresa…“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.“
Blessings to you on our continuing journey,