Here is a column from the Journal, an idea for the new year.
Is it possible to forgive, but not forget? I mean, if you are shooting for full forgiveness. I’ve heard it said that if one cannot forget a wrong doing, then they haven’t fully forgiven the trespasser, to use the words of the prayer. At the same time, can the human mind ever forget something that has hurt the heart so deeply? Will it not always be in our memory as one of life’s experiences?
Thoughts such as these have been in my head these past few weeks as my family was dealing with some rather significant pains and injustices. One of our gang had some tough stuff to deal with.
We all suffered. We all went through the phases, like mourning, I guess, of anger and denial, then moving toward acceptance. Variously and individually, we all went at it at our own pace, and we are now at different places on the journey. Intellectually, we all know that forgiveness is the end goal, that it must become the final chapter in the story. Otherwise, the bitterness will do nothing but corrode our hearts and souls; the resentment, so real and honest, will linger and fester like an oozing boil.
Something I read in a pamphlet this Advent gave me a good start on my journey. It spoke of “becoming a forgiver”. I saw this process as not like a water faucet that can be turned off with a simple twist. No, it is more like a gradual burning down of a fire in the hearth, once roaring and spitting and sizzling, becoming more evened, turning to embers, then to ashes. When you can scoop up the ashes in cupped hands and blow them to the four winds, you have reached forgiveness. You have become a forgiver.
Applying this to recent events, the concept makes sense. We have had times when things seemed to be going in the right direction, then comes a flare up, much like a log rolling over and exposing the coals to new fuel. But in time, the flame drops and the embers do burn themselves out, and there is nothing left but ashes. These are the memories.
It is now a new year, new in time and opportunity. If you have no one to forgive, lucky are you. But if there is someone who fits the description of a person in need of forgiveness, well…..we’re always looking for that meaningful resolution, aren’t we? (aside from the post-Christmas cookie binge annual 10 pound drop, that is.)
Keep in mind that it is a process, this “becoming a forgiver” thing. Everyone runs the path at their own speed. And watch out for those flare-ups. But know that in the end, if you don’t add fuel to the fire, it will die and all that is left is the ashes.
So here’s to blowin’ those ashes to the old NorthWind in 2007.