There is a list of 10 names in my private journal. Above their names I have written “forgiveness”.
I carry these names as weight in my heart because in some way or another, each person has wronged me. Intellectually, I know each action & word had a cause & made sense to each of them. Most likely, no harm was ever intended me. However, until I can forgive these individuals, the gates that protect my heart will be held open. Until forgiveness flows from my heart-center, for each of them, I am vulnerable to more conflict. Forgiveness is not a transaction between myself & these individuals. Forgiveness is a process, walked out in anguish & struggle, conducted between myself & the fractured presence of my Divinity. It is a battle of ego & intuition, pain vs. wisdom. Pain leading to wisdom, by way of Faith’s path. Intuition, wisdom, by way of faith, must win or suffering ensues relentlessly (as these life-protecting boundaries are stuck ajar). As Thich Nhat Hanh, beloved Buddhist monk, says, “To suffer is not enough.*”
It is impossible to live in this diverse world as dynamic & sensitive creatures without causing one another pain. It is difficult, but never impossible, to grasp true forgiveness. It is always a good time to put the old aches & wounds to rest for good in the garden of Grace.
As the ancient scriptures say, “God is merciful & gracious, slow to anger, & abounding in steadfast love.**” There is enough grace available. There is endless love available. I believe that to forgive daily, daily these truths must be remembered. We are divine beings, but our divinity is often forgotten in the sea of distraction. It is something to remind ourselves of continually throughout life.
Sometimes as humans we fear grace more than we fear judgment. We know how to protect ourselves from judgment (being unfortunately well-practiced), but we are unaccustomed to enduring the fires of Grace. But Grace, seen as the dominant force at work in the cosmos, is what can change everything. Especially for those of us lost in unforgiveness.
What if we were, are, and shall be forgiven…always? That is sweet oxygen filling the lungs of our fearful hearts, if we let it.