Why does one word bring so much baggage? Why does this necessary part of humanity get lost amongst pride and inability to vocalize it?
As children, it is a hard concept to grasp. Matthew, my oldest son, seemed to be permanently mute when it came to saying he was sorry for an inappropriate action or word. Andrew had the most difficult time of all, and finally learned the lesson when he began preschool at age 2 and did not like when children bit him as often as he bit them. Joshua was quicker to jump on the bandwagon, perhaps it was seeing two older siblings express the words to each other and others.
As adults, we all know someone who is as stubborn as my former two year old biter. Regardless of what wrong they have committed, the words never flow like the excuses for the hurtful behavior. There is always an instigator, there is always an argument, there is never redemption.
I don't know why this strikes a such a chord with me lately. Perhaps it is the bitter taste on my tongue when I witness the frailty of humanity, when someone is so outside of their right mind that seeking forgiveness is unthinkable. Or, how some are so eager to apologize and seek redemption, that it shames when that I am not always that eager to soothe my own soul.
But what keeps us from forgiving and being forgiven? Are our egos so grand that we cannot be reminded of the frailties that make us human? The pill is not so bitter that we cannot do it, and really, the relief we feel when we are truly forgiven is all encompassing, especially when we have wronged another by accident, not knowing how our words can be such sharp knives that can so easily hurt those we love.
As my children get older, I wonder how our relationship will develop as they need me less for survival. As my own relationship with my surviving parent teeters between being a caregiver and daughter; it has always been hard to set boundaries and be comfortable with them. I imagine it is part of growing older, seeing your parents get weaker in mind and body.
I watch how many lives are affected when true forgiveness occurs, or when it doesn't. And more than redemption, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. Carrying around resentment and anger requires more energy than I am willing to give up for such negativity. Freedom comes when you are no longer bound by the things that prevent you from being all that you can be.
Please don't misunderstand. I can hold a grudge like nobody's business. But what good comes of it? It darkens the edges of what makes us good. All I am left with is a feeling of heaviness, unhappiness and the grudge. Not good friends to be around, I assure you.
You might wonder why the solemn topic. I guess, all too often, we dismiss hurtful behavior as being justified. But there is nothing worse than seeing someone trapped in a prison of their own doing, and then refusing to take responsibility.
Happiness is not necessarily having everything your heart desires. It is about being true to yourself. A being true to yourself requires examining your actions. Are you truthful without being hurtful? Are you as forgiving to others as you want others to be with you?
Happiness comes from a heart light with no emotional baggage. It comes from freeing yourself from those things that weigh down your spirit.
As for me, I practice forgiveness as often as I receive (or would like to).
Forgiveness to others who have wronged me in some way, whether intentional or not.
And mostly, to myself.
For making mistakes in my mothering, for my frailties as a human being.
And it makes my spirit light.