Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. - Mark Twain
I've been mulling over the idea of forgiveness heavily over this weekend, partly because of Easter itself and all that it represents for us. Partly because we have recently had a few hardcore situations where people have treated us rather crappily. And we have spent a lot of time lately face-to-face with a wrong someone did to us, and it's something I see every single day, in a tangible and close-up way.
I won't tell you what they did, but I'll give you a hypothetical, an allegory if you will. Imagine you got in line for ice-cream and the people right in front of you ask if it's okay for them to run to their car because they've forgotten something. You say "sure, sure," and go back to waiting (and enjoying the sunshine - you're at Dairee Delite of course.) After you've been there for half an hour you realize the people have never come back, but you think nothing of it. At the 45-minute mark as you are nearing the counter, they shove back in line ahead of you. Despite your polite protests, they tell you they have a right to be in front of you for the ice-cream. They are entitled to it, you see. And then they do a little dance once they have their ice-cream and the cashier announces they are sold out of ice-cream and there is none left for you. After two bites of their ice-cream they shrug and drop the rest into the trash can.
It's something like that. Only ten times worse because it happens every day for the foreseeable future and there is nothing you can do to stop it. No, you can't go anywhere else for ice-cream, and you can't get these people out of your life.
Justice issues always infuriate me, and though this is nowhere close to something that matters - like women who have been sex trafficked - it hits the core of me in all the wrong ways.
Here's the thing, like any of us, I've had my share of forgiveness I've needed to dole out over the years. I've been forgiven of so much, how can I not also freely forgive?
But, people, I've found this situation hard. Like really hard.
As in I've spent hours as I'm washing my dishes or folding laundry imagining all the ways I could get back at these people. Really low, petty stuff too-I could infest their fence with termites. Or place a pile of fiery poop on their doorstep. I could ring their doorbell at all hours of the night and run away. I could blow dandelions into their backyard + as many other weeds as I can find. (They love their backyard so this would be fitting retribution.)
Oh, oh! I can make a recording of all the things I want to say to them and play it on a loud loop when I see them in their backyard.
I could drip honey on their lawn furniture, drawing all the ants in the neighbourhood to their greedy, sticky sides.
I could slit their tires late at night.
I could spray paint my frustrations on the sides of their fence. I'll use classy colours, don't you worry.
(Notice I'm saying "I" because although Jonathan is as frustrated as I am, he's a better human in general and would never stoop to such paltriness. I have no such inhibitions.)
Best yet, I could do all the above.
(Yes, yes, you can think I'm pitiful, but these are the depths to which I've sunk.)
The situation came up during Easter dinner with the family and my blood pressure spiked so rapidly that two people in a row asked if I'd gotten a sunburn.
I clearly need to forgive these animals.
They have been bad, arrogant people in our lives and they haven't asked for forgiveness. In fact, they don't care at all because they have their ice-cream and that's all they care about.
But I'm not going to do anything of those things because ultimately I want to live a life of forgiveness. Even if I don't emotionally want it in this second, I mentally want it.
I need to forgive, let it go, release my heart from any feeling of resentment or bitterness towards them. Whether it's easy or earned, I need it. I'm only hurting myself by holding on to it.
So I've been choosing to take deep breaths and say cheesy things like "I forgive them," "I'm letting it go," "I want good things for them" out loud, even when I don't mean it, even when I don't feel it in one solitary ounce of my body. I choose to forgive. And I know one day I'll actually mean it, there will be a moment when the circumstance is drawn to my attention and I don't experience any emotion. There will be a day when I'm genuinely okay with seeing them.
Today is not that day, but I know it's coming.
I choose forgiveness because it matters.
I choose forgiveness because I want to live in freedom.
I choose forgiveness because it is the better way.
I choose forgiveness today, and I'll choose it tomorrow too.
Forgiveness is a thing of beauty and I want all the beauty I can get in my life.