The Nature of Love & Forgiveness
My world has undergone a seismic shift in the last week or so; and as always for me that causes a lot of thinking, meditating and general increase of energy. This energy is not always easy for those who live with me; there is actually quite a bit about me that is hard to live with; but right now the energy is needed and well utilized. Which of course gives me secret satisfaction, much like I feel when someone tells me I am right, but I digress.
Much of what I have been thinking about is the nature of love and forgiveness. I have been contemplating this for quite awhile, as the election process, and results illuminated the great divide in our country. It made me realize how insular my world is; purposely so, as I am very sensitive, and spent most of my life repressing how hard I find this place. During these past few years I have worked on being vulnerable, acknowledging emotions instead of packing them down, and generally trying to live with myself as I am... perfect in this moment; as we all are, but oh so much room for improvement.
Forgiveness has been the biggest lesson for me. I used to be a grudge holder and am epic clinger to past hurts. I would not say anything, and save up a greedy little list of grievances. When a little kerkuffle finally happened, I would have a miles long document, months sometimes years long, and begin stating hurts like Wilson and his Fourteen points,* and then six months ago you said this, and eight months that, oh the uselessness of that approach. I would be holding on to something that no one remembered, or had been meant a different way, and then deliver my “facts” with Puritanical righteousness.
That’s what happens with grasping and non forgiveness, silly things become bigger and bigger until we cannot even converse.
These last few years have been a course in love and forgiveness. Learning to truly forgive, has been the most freeing lesson of my life. So much easier to rise above and not let a bad moment or event consume life. I realized that every moment I gave to grievance, was a moment stolen from joy and gratitude.
This is also the hardest work I have ever done; I am still a beginner. I find myself still too quick to judgment, and I don’t think I will ever stop
loving being right. My sister once told me that my biggest problem was that I was right 98 percent (I would say 99 lol)of the time, but could Never recognize the other two percent. She is the same way. We laugh, about Lucena family quirks; recognizing how we get in our own way; working on the forgiveness issue has been a practice that has needed constant work and demanded consistency .
Luckily, my life, or the universe (I hate writing the universe but with such a huge pile of crapola it could only be the universe), provided me with constant practice material. Mama Maria and her shenanigans, combined with parental events from childhood were the first to be worked on. Maria was easier than expected. I find myself awash in admiration for her grit, and perseverance. Her no holds barred approach to getting what she wants is selfish, and frankly hilarious. She is doing the best she can, the only was she knows how, and that’s what we are all doing. Mama Maria was in general great mom, with days of truly terrible mixed in. She never intended to be awful; sometimes, awful happens.
Most of us have good intentions, execution may be pitiful, but I have come to see that most of us are just trying to get through the day. Forgiveness becomes easier with empathy.
And the big event, a reconciliation coming at the very least expected time. A reconciliation that may not last, as the courage required to continue is massive. I know now that I have that courage to continue with the repair as well as dealing with another loss if things don’t work out. Forgiveness requires the courage to choose love in this moment. It is not forgetting, or erasing the wrong , it’s a simple “will my life be fuller with moving on with love or the clinging to this wrong”.
No one would blame me for clinging to the great injustice that was done; yet, that cling would be lonely. A slap in the face to love in this moment.
And let’s face it, there seems to be a real lack of loving kindness in the world. We have devided ourselves into them vs us, red vs blue, blue collar vs white collar, coastal elites vs heart of the country, there seems to be no end to the highlighted differences. Yet aren’t we all at heart the same.
With few exceptions, we love our families and our children. As Ram Dass says we are all struggling to make it to the end of the day. Why not work together? Why not set aside bundles of petty hurts that get packed into bigger and bigger baggage. It takes courage and grit to realize that an approach is not working; we have that power in us. Times change, needs change, what makes us happy changes, and that is ok.
More than ok. My spirit has lightened so much during this pandemic. Being sick allowed me evaluate what is truly important. What I came to is this, living a simple life, finding gratitude in as many aspects of life as possible, brings light. Trying to put an end to grasping and controlling will be my life’s work; I am up to the challenge. I will have days when I fail miserably, and I am learning to be ok with that. I have already failed so miserably and am still here to talk about it. I am working on my need for control, and am trying to be compassionate to myself.
Let’s all bring this compassion to ourselves and others. This last Sunday was the the first Sunday of Advent, and today marks the first day of eating cheap and delicious candy from a little calendar. Twenty-two days 'til Christmas, the season of giving is here.
Let’s give the gifts of patience and empathy. Laughter instead of instant offense, discernment versus judgment, let us light each other up with joy and peace.
Happy winter to all, and may we all help each other survive our crazy world in these tense and difficult times.