Sarah Rosemary at Sunny Side Up and I are hosting our own Reverb11, a series of prompts to look back on 2011 and manifest the new year. Please check our Reverb11 pages for details, and join in!
Prompt for December 4: Leap: What leap of faith did you take this year? Did you hold your nose and jump off the end of the diving board, or did you look before you leapt? Were you scared, or was it a relief?
Is forgiveness anyone’s strong suit? Maybe if you are Jesus. Or a sanctimonious asshole.
It is not mine.
But I think it’s the most important thing in the world, so I generally try to do it.
Sometimes, it takes time and effort. Sometimes, it doesn’t come easily or at all.
There were a number of things I was holding on to this year. And there was a lot of forgiving that needed to be done. What I’ve learned is this: we are all made of shipwrecks. We all come from broken places. And we each do messed up things, and we hurt and harm and we don’t necessarily it do it with intent. And even when we DO do things with intent, it’s not necessarily the intent that is perceived.
So I leapt.
I forgave a friend who I felt betrayed me. I finally forgave my parents for sending my brother to stay with me that horrible summer of 2007. I forgave the guy who sold me out in 2008, for no apparent reason but his own vanity. I forgave Frederic for everything; forgave my ex-husband for everything else.
All of this, among other things.
Forgiveness, I’ve learned, is a huge leap of faith. And I am a cautious person; a look-before-you-leap type. So I almost never say, Here is the great unknown, into which I am going to jump, because I like to make the first move. Forgiveness is a great, vulnerable abyss. At first blush, it puts you in a powerless spot, because you’re not armed with your grudges anymore. You’ve got nothing to keep people out; nothing to fight with — no angry barbs with which to wound your enemy. Forgiving, unprovoked, is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I also learned that forgiveness is an ongoing relationship — it’s not a one-time absolution. You don’t simply say I forgive you! and it’s done. No, there are moments when something irritating comes up and the memory of the summer of 2007 or the memory of the spring of 2011 comes flooding back and I see red and I forget that it’s all gone.
So I leapt into active forgiveness; I leapt into a life of being willing to work on the Things that Are Worth It. Of Not Holding On to Things. Of being Open and Markedly More Vulnerable. Of Chancing Getting Kicked in the Face. Of Not Kicking Others In the Face When They Insist I am Holding On To Something And I Have No Idea To What I Could Be Holding Or To What They Are Even Referring…(I digress…)
I have also found that it was way easier to get on a train in Edinburgh to head back to London on the advice of a fortune cookie; to decide to skip a flight to Dublin; to make some spontaneous, wildly out of character, and at the time, leap-of-faith choices, than it has been to choose to forgive others.