“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
I AM a firm believer in forgiveness. I believe that forgiveness is the key for each and everyone of us in working out our personal salvation and soul’s growth. It is one of the greatest gifts we have received from God. For me the problem with forgiveness is not in forgiving a fellow traveler upon the path, but that I have to keep relearning this lesson over and over and over again. Why is this such a hard lesson to master? Why can’t I get it right? Why do I struggle to forgive at times, when other times it is so easy?
Recently I watched DR. Maya Angelou on Super Soul Sunday. I love DR. Angelou and consider her to be one of my greatest teachers. During the interview Oprah asked DR. Angelou what is one of greatest lessons she has learned and Dr. Angelou responded, her mother told her to forgive. To which Dr. Angelou further added “I forgive it. I don’t anoint it with anything. I just forgive it.” Oprah then asked Dr Angelou when you forgive someone, does not mean you invite them into your house after that? To which Dr. Angelou responded, “No not at all. When I forgive you, it means I am done. I am finished with you. Go away. Not go away and harm someone else. I do so because I have to protect myself.” To which Oprah said, ” I have to be willing to take care of me first then I have enough to take care of myself first.”
This was an AHA moment for me. “When I forgive you, it means I am done. I am finished with you. Go away.” There is so much more to this statement than meets the eyes. This is not just a statement to be taken literally. No, not literally, there is much to ponder here. For me it meant I AM done with this lesson. It is learned. I will not repeat this again.
I choose to write on forgiveness this evening due to two recent events that took place in my family during the past two weeks that left me deeply hurt, angered and depressed. Two weeks ago one of my cousins’ son graduated from high school. They hosted a large party for him and the entire family was invited — well not quite the entire family. I was not invited. I was the only family member not to receive an invitation. Upon seeing the pictures posted online and hearing others talk about the good time had by all I was deeply hurt by the exclusion. To make matters worse, another cousin, the brother of the cousin I referred to previously, has a son who was married yesterday. You guessed it; the entire family was invited except for me. This exclusion was was like a knife being twisted in my guts. I experienced two Cinderella moments and they hurt badly. Again I saw the pictures and again I experienced a deep pain.
Earlier I referred to DR. Angelou and her approach to forgiveness. She mentioned she does not “anoint” the situation. My error this weekend was in anointing the situation. I put too much time, energy and thought into the pain and hurt I was feeling. My emotions spiraled out of control, leaving me feeling tired and drained and off kilter. Thankfully through pray and silence I gained some insight and control.
So at this moment, I choose forgiveness. I move past this hurt. It doesn’t mean I approve of what’s happened. I’m not giving them a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD. No, I’m giving myself that card. Rather, I AM moving on with my life. This is the choice I make.
This isn’t to say the pain will miraculously disappear, The pain may never completely disappear, But I can let go of the anger. I’m not going to invest in resentment anymore
I am a person who works to forgive. I try to see things from all sides. Often when we are being attacked, the attack is not about you or me but rather about the person who is attacking. This is easy to understand when the person attacking is not someone who was very special to us.
But when the hurt comes from someone that was very close to us, it is very hard to just turn our feelings off. It is very hard to just close the door without feeling some pain and hurt having to make that decision. It is on those occasions that we have to dig deep and go through the pain and hurt and separation in order to accept as DR Angelou says, “When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them.”
Again, this is where it all clicked for me. “When I forgive you, it means I am done. I am finished with you. Go away.” Like so many others I felt forgiveness means that I open the door again when in fact it does not. Forgiveness means I hold no spite to the person or people who have hurt me. It does not mean I have to open my heart again to allow them in. I simply know it’s time to move on and let go. And that is exactly what I choose to do.
It is up to us to decide if we can invite those who have trespassed against us back in and if we can’t we forgive their transgression with love and let them go.
And so to my two cousins and your wives I say I forgive you. I am done. I am finished with you. Go away.
Bhole Babaji ki Jai!