Tag Archives: forgiveness

2013: Year of Sustainability

I’ve been naming my years lately. 2009 was my Year of Hesed (lovingkindness). 2010 was my Year of the Tao. 2011, my Year of Living Simply. 2012, my Year of Forgiveness. I did a lot of forgiving this past year, both of myself for my gaffes, stupid comments/acts and poking my nose into other peoples’ business, and for others who did the same to me or in my presence. I have a long way to go toward being the type of loving, non-judgmental human being I aspire to be, but a healthy dose of forgiveness goes a long way toward achieving that goal.

In 2013, I want the focus to be on sustainability.  I want to think “Sustainability!” in every area of my life, with the hope that the things that I do and say prompt others to start thinking in channels of sustainability. I’ve already begun eating a plant-based diet, as our meat and dairy production facilities are unsustainable for the world.

Theologian Matthew Fox, in his amazing book A New Reformation wrote: “Sustainability is another word for justice, for what is just is sustainable, and what is unjust is not.”

This is as good a definition of justice as I have ever heard. As “Social Justice” is one of the new buzzwords these days, I’m not sure those who promote it can define it. This is a good definition, and I hope all will eventually adopt it.

This year I will be mindful about my consumption. I will work for sustainable causes, whether it be in education, in social reform, health care, politics, or self-expression. I believe that the planet teeters on the brink of a sustainability revolution, and if I can help to push awareness over the brink, I will.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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What do you mean, “Forgive and Forget”?

My friend, not long ago, was whining about some slight that she was still churning over, when I tossed off the oft-used, but ill-considered phrase: “Oh, forgive and forget.” She stopped in her tracks, looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “I will never forget, and I have no idea what forgiveness means.”

Hmmmm.  I had to think about that. This happened several years ago, and I’m still thinking about it. Of course we don’t forget. And what is forgiveness, anyway? I have an idea these days about what mercy is, but forgiveness has eluded me.

Well, the other day I happened upon an interesting article on forgiveness, and the author said that forgiveness was simply allowing another person their path.

That was kind of a stunner to me, and I’m not sure I’ve finished assimilating that simple bit of wisdom.

We all have our paths. Some wind around in a convoluted manner, some take us through very dark places, some have us living the glamorous high life and some appear to be cut short before they’ve really begun. It is my personal opinion, belief and faith, that we all have the same destination, eventually, but it’s going to take us all a long time to get there, not just the 80 or so years we have in this life on this planet. But my path to that destination is my path and your path is your path, and if you do something that offends me, well, that’s your path, to be mildly offensive now and then. I certainly spent enough time being offensive to people before I decided not to do that any more. That’s a part of my journey.

I’m not finished considering all the ramifications of this simple raindrop of wisdom. A theological question I’ve wrestled with for years now, was answered in a simple four-word sentence: “Allow them their path.”

Could it really be that simple? Are all the things we wrestle with that simple?

Probably. We’re the ones who make our lives difficult.

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Filed under Beauty, Goodness, regrets, relationships, Resentment, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Truth

What is Forgiveness?

A friend of mine asked the other day, “What is forgiveness?”

I’m not sure I know the answer to that. The very next day, my brother asked essentially the same question.  We’ve all been told to “forgive and forget” but the truth is, forgetting is impossible. We always remember, learn, and guard ourselves against subsequent pain from that particular angle.

If forgetting is impossible, is forgiving impossible as well?

Today I have the tools with which I can be rid of a resentment. Is that the same thing as forgiving?

Is understanding the one who has hurt us the key to forgiveness? If we were to look upon that person as a very, very old parent might, would we see the one as a mere child, trying to find its way through the difficult morass of relationships? Can we forgive the indiscretions of youth–our own or others’?

Or perhaps forgiving means merely to show mercy. We’re all capable of that, even if we can’t forget. Even if we do guard ourselves against subsequent pain.

I have committed more than my share of youthful (and not so youthful) indiscretions, for which I have been shown more mercy than I deserve. Have I been forgiven?

I don’t know.

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