Someone gave me cause to use forgiveness in the last little while. Well, two someones. They used my compassion and kindness and trust and took full advantage of it. Poison infected our lives because of it. Uncertainty and heartache came from it, and I am Pissed!
There is a lot of implied power when the word forgiveness comes up. Like a spell from a wand used triumphantly, only after a great quest has been conquered. Or maybe as if it was stumbled upon when digging through an old abandoned chest, and then spoken as a knee-jerk reaction.
I know. I use it every once in a while.
The truth is that if I choose not to use forgiveness, I feel weak. Like I should wave it around to make someone else feel better, whether I feel it or not. “Honey?? Say you’re sorry to your brother.” Tap! You are forgiven. “I’m sure she didn’t mean it.” BRRIIINNNGGG! You are forgiven. “Don’t hold a grudge! It’s all water under the bridge.” WHACK! I forgive you as well.
A convenient wand for comfort.
The truth is, I hoard it. It is part of keeping my word to myself that I will be true to me. Still, somewhere in the back of my head, I feel selfish. And, I guess I am because I make it my choice how to dole it out.
I giveth and I taketh away…
Sometimes I just put forgiveness on my emotional shelf and wait for a bit. I take that spell of power down, every once in a while, and look at it. I feel it and think about using that power, and then I put it right back where it was, on the shelf of SOMEDAYS. It’s up there with a bottle of “boldness”. It hangs out with bunches of “risk” and bundles of “reckless abandon”. It lies in front of a very dusty packet of “trust”.
I’m using the power of “honesty” today. The honesty that says, “You piss me off. You betrayed my trust and my loyalty. You took advantage of me and you did it on purpose. You suck.” The problem is, it is not socially acceptable. The truth makes others uncomfortable. Like having a stranger talk to you about Jesus right off the bat. Or a neighbor complaining about the dirty homeless problem, and ending the rant with, “Am I right?”. Or having your friend call himself a fat cow when he is overweight. He’s not, but he is expecting to be comforted. They all are looking for justification. Thus, it’s just not polite to be honest.
“And how are you today?”
“Oooo, you look sad. What’s wrong?”
Hug Hug. Pat on the back. “You look like you need a hug…”
The proper response is I’m Fine in each one of those cases, but inside I seethe with, “What’s it to you?” And then comes the weakness. The lack of forgiveness. I could easily forgive them for being oblivious, or using the human form of “I see you and this is my response.” Well, sometimes I forgive, and sometimes I don’t. Chalk it up to the phases of the moon.
That’s a thing. Seriously.
Now, JESUS is what my daughter thinks of when I use the word forgiveness with her. I asked her, and, BAM! simple as that, she knows what it is to unconditionally love and forgive. She is wise. They go together for her. But just so we clear this up, I’m no Jesus. Maybe forgiveness is a compassion of a sort. It is a balm that could give me courage. Which is another potion waaaayyy in the back of that shelf of SOMEDAYS, by the way.
As she reads this, proofreading a bit, and brainstorming a bit, I notice the simplicity in her view. Then she asks, ‘What would happen if you just mixed them all together? Those spells that have a hold over you?” What, indeed… What would come of being bold, and risking with reckless abandon, trusting that forgiveness would give me the courage to become whole again?
It’s comforting in theory, but what about those Jay-Holes that crapped all over my space? They are gone, now, and the chaos is settling down, but still. It’s a choice. Do I stay hurt and wounded? Well, up to this point I had taken down Righteous Indignation from that emotional shelf and sprinkled it liberally from bedroom to kitchen, all the while chanting about their weaknesses and gossiping to whomever would listen. And rightfully so.
Now, the chanting is old. The words are old. The emotions are old. The story is old. And that’s how I know it is time to put that feeling away. So what do I choose now? I look and look and look over the possibilities. The combinations. The right thing, and you know what?
I think it’s time for a brew. A stew-ee brew.
I will throw into my cauldren of life some compassion and kindness for flavor, but use caution and logic as the basics. I’ll sprinkle positivity in for the luck in my life, and a liberal amount of gratitude for the “It could be worse-ness” view. The mix will need to be right, and I will watch it simmer, sometimes impatiently. The flavors should marry. This stew will be the energizing option for me to get on with getting on. It isn’t chocolate, which is a quick fix as a distraction, but it is good for me.
And now for the power…
Forgiveness will be the bit of bread that I use to dip into the main course, and I’ll try it out. I’ll look it over to see if it is stale and needs to be replaced with love, or see if it is fresh and can stand on its own. It will be my choice as to how it compliments my need for emotional nourishment. And as long as it adds to the meal, I will look forward to that.
It may need butter to go down smoothly, but then again, what doesnt?