In order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die. If you make a choice to forgive, you have to face into the pain. You simply have to hurt. – Brene Brown
Thirty Days of Forgiveness, as explained by my post on Oct. 27th, is no longer a practice in identifying people to forgive (including myself). It is now a practice in asking and answering these questions:
- What must die in order for me to forgive Them + Me? Expectations? Victimhood? Dreams/demands? Blame? The way it is supposed to be? The need to be right? Awesome stories of how I was wronged? Awesome stories of how I screwed up?
- If to forgive is to love, am I ready to love Them + Me? I mean really, there are some people/things we have no interest in loving—ever! Am I right? You know I’m right. I know I’m right.
- What pain must I face in order for me to forgive Them + Me? I’m sure the first question will fill in that blank easily enough.
- Am I willing to write publicly about it?
What must die?
The expectation that a robust forgiveness practice means I will be so readily forgiven. Nope. The backlash has already begun; as if this is all just a stunt. Nonetheless there are some wrongs that it appears I will never be able to right. Some apologies are never going to be accepted. I can be really, truly sorry. I can really, truly mean it. Forgiveness for my trespasses against others is still completely out of my jurisdiction. I can only ask and then have to know that sometimes the answer is going to be No. And it might be No forever.
Can I love anyway?
This one is really hard. When we humble ourselves in honest-to-goodness regret, admit our wrongs, and prostrate ourselves emotionally only to get rebuffed–oof, that’s one of the toughest forms of rejection I’ve ever known. But as I understand it, my obligation is to forgive this too. Even if it hurts worse than the original conviction.
What pain must I face?
Sometimes it won’t matter how sorry I am. It won’t matter how well I can demonstrate I’ve learned a lesson. It won’t matter how much I’ve changed or how hard I try to show the world that I’ve changed. Sometimes I still won’t be forgiven. Grudges will still be held. Efforts to make amends will be still be brushed aside. My sincerity will still be disbelieved. I may never convince certain people that I’m worthy of forgiveness. I may have to learn to live without some forgiveness.
Can I own this publicly?