Tonight I was talking to a friend about forgiveness.
He said his new religion is me and we laughed.
That was not long after I said, “The priest in Les Miserables did what I or you or anyone else would do for someone who was just released from prison, hungry and trying to make a new start and try to show the con a better way, give him a start to a better life. (Bear in mind I saw the live production at the QE theatre 3x so I am a sucker for the goodness the priest showed.) Wouldn’t we do the same? (My friend didn’t answer so I kept going.)
But think about this, does anyone really, honestly believe we should forgive Charles Manson or Hitler or the 911 bombers… I mean if that’s the case, why do we think of things as such tragedy and have a need as humans to debrief, process and come to terms with terrible crimes against our person or psyche or loss or … why can we not simply pull up our socks and get on with it – isn’t that what separates us from the animals? But even animals mourn and grieve… have you never seen it? I have.”
We both agreed we do not believe in bearing grudges or continuing to walk in anger, only that there is no “certain time” to be at peace with a situation that is grossly unjust, unfair or inhumane. I said that Chris Isaac came into my head and his interview where he, in jest, said something like “just as long as you say I’m a Christian…” because I think this massive idea of forgiveness was religion sprouted. Some things in life are simply unforgivable. They are too horrific to even speak of let alone forgive.
But that does not mean that we are not free to carry on loving others, free to trust others and move on, move forward away from the pain as best we humanly can. But sometimes we are haunted until we die. Or still have a legal process ahead of us to survive. We are not automatons nor are we clones, each of us is entitled to a different idea about healing processes because they are as individual as the person surviving them.
Sometimes there is no forgiving because, even though you probably would save that person’s life if you were called to do it in a moment of collective humanity, you wouldn’t want to be put in that position. Just in case.
Okay, I’m nuts, I’ll admit it. I was laughing when I wrote ‘just in case’ just now. But do you see what I mean?
I can’t make right wrongs others choose to do or forgive them when they aren’t even sorry and likely never will be due to that high horse they jumped on and won’t dismount.
For example, could you forgive an abuser and keep on forgiving them for incessantly abusing you further making YOU wrong every time they didn’t want to deal with the FACTS of what they had done and/or continue to do to you without any sign of regret whatsoever, all the while deeming YOU crazy while they did so?
I didn’t think so.
Neither can I.
But that’s really okay. It’s really okay not to forgive sometimes. Because sometimes forgiving just puts us right back under the wheels of the bus.
And I’m just a little more than totally exhausted from ironing out all those tire tracks on my hide.
Permission to be human and permission to not forgive if that’s what we need to do. It doesn’t mean nursing hatred or hostility because that is harmful to the self. It just means being at peace with the fact that it really is okay not to forgive. Because sometimes, you just can’t.
Oh I know holy and holier than thou people every where will likely disagree. But that just means they don’t know exactly what I mean.
No more harping at people in pain that forgiveness is the path to freedom. Or telling those unable to forgive that they are negative! That is a supreme form of abuse of someone who has already been hurt or abused in my opinion. The real path to freedom in my world is, as author and clinical psychiatrist David Burns, MD, says in his Feeling Good Handbook, getting rid of all the shoulds.
No more shoulding all over myself. No matter what the shiny, happy never-even-rode-in-my-canoe people say I “should” do. Try telling the Sandy Hook parents what they should do right now. Myself, I think I should shut my mouth and let those mourning folks do whatever it is they need to do because this is a life long healing journey and I can’t even begin to imagine how to tell others they should heal when I am still struggling myself over issues not even close to theirs on the richter scale of pain and suffering.
You should forgive, they say. They being so many who think they have or actually have or are in a far different place of wellness, having finished their own healing journey, to judge others anyway. If they really knew what they were talking about they should be quiet and accept me just as I am, wherever I am in whatever stage of the process I am in or whatever I choose to do or not to do that is best for me.
The next time somebody says “you should…” or “you need to…” to me, I will remain silent and trust that what I should really do is forgive them for their arrogance and … walk away. Quietly. I resolve not to let them disturb the peace I have found in not forgiving. They could never understand what I mean if they haven’t been here anymore than I can fathom how they preach freedom in forgiveness while walking with such loud invisible chains.
But that’s okay. We are not all the same. Different – just the way I like people.
- Some thoughts on forgiveness (beyondmeds.com)
- Forgiveness (shellielove.wordpress.com)
- G*dd*mn M*th*rf*ck*ng Forg*ven*ss (fishofgold.wordpress.com)