Since I'm not good at keeping them, I'm not usually one to put forth resolutions for the coming year. This year however is different and I am trying hard to better myself by working on the act of forgiveness.
I am neither quick to request forgiveness when I've been wrong, nor am I generous when it comes to forgiving if it's requested of me. Hardest of all is forgiving someone a particularly egregious act that they (may) have no clue they've committed against me or someone I care for and that is something I've been considering for several months now. This work has been a challenge, especially since this problem is only indirectly mine--it really belongs to someone I love. I've felt anger so profound and been so outraged at the injustice of it that it's made me feel sick to my stomach and even visits me in my sleep. Truly, this type of problem eats at the soul like a cancer. With the dawning of understanding that how I feel is not particularly healthy for me, I've embarked on a journey of awareness with the goal of learning to forgive.
I am a work in progress.
During this nasty little family drama (two years in the making), it has come to pass that the person who is at the core of this and has created all of this hurt and pain is now physically suffering in the most horrific of ways. It's the ultimate cosmic comeuppance, and I'm (kind of) ashamed to say that I have actually felt true glee at her misfortune. I'm (sort of) appalled at my feelings, but with wise guidance I have started to forgive my own self for feeling that way. In the words of my friend, Jeanne, "feelings come unbidden. We don't ask to have feelings like this, they just sort of wash over us." I didn't ask to feel that way, I just did. Self awareness is a good start. Ultimately, throughout this two year ordeal, I held my tongue. I was really angry that I didn't have the nerve to say what I really felt toward this woman before misfortune befell her and now, well, I'm in a position where I never will have that opportunity and have to learn to let it go. It's so hard.
This week, Jeanne and I met for lunch to explore this topic of forgiveness a little more closely. She gave me some material about the topic that was (oddly) given to her the first day we spoke of this. It included a quote by the theologian Frederick Buechner, “Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”
Mmmm. Words to ponder.
And so my friends, for many reasons, it's finally good to say goodbye to 2011. May 2012 be better to our collective world than this year has been and may your own journeys take you to a kinder, gentler and healthier place.
Happy New Year.