I confess I’ve got nothing today. I’m empty, at least for the moment. I got up early as usual to sit in contemplation for this practice and waited for something to bubble up. No bubbles. Thirty minutes in silence. Waiting. No bubbles.
So I’ve waited several hours more, obviously not in silence, but I’ve still got nothing and now it feels like I’m trying to force something just so I’ll have a daily post. I don’t want to do that. I want to stay honest about this. I honestly have nothing today.
Except there is a bit of a conflict going on inside because I recognized some evidence of forgiveness but somehow it feels wrong to celebrate it. Or maybe not wrong, but it feels a little vulgar to crow over forgiveness as if it is a victory or an accomplishment. Ugh, except it is a victory. It is an accomplishment, but it is one of those things I was always supposed to be doing anyway, so it feels crass to congratulate myself.
It’s like the debate over whether or not to reward kids for getting good grades when getting good grades is already a student’s responsibility. Or rewarding kids for good behavior when they are supposed to be practicing good behavior because it’s the right way to live. Am I really supposed to pat myself on the back because I’ve discovered some forgiveness I should have transacted years ago?
I don’t know. Maybe not. But it also seems wrong not to acknowledge it because in this particular case it’s a really big deal. Huge. I woke up this morning and felt genuine compassion and empathy for someone with whom I’ve had a longstanding rift. A big one. Ugly. Messy. Crazy mean and nasty. Years of crap between us gone, just this morning. I woke up today and my heart hurt for this longtime foe. I felt kindred to her sorrow. I wanted this person spared a fear I have shared before. Even more than that, I wanted good things for her, not just a cessation of bad things.
I figure that was only possible because somehow in the last fifteen days I managed to forgive on a deeper level. The thought of this person’s suffering was all of sudden something I did not want to imagine. Not because I didn’t want to think about it anymore but because I didn’t want it to happen. In my heart I truly wanted to spare this person fear and pain and dread and the horrors of worst-case scenarios. Not that I can control or affect any of those things but the shift in my own heart’s desire was significant. This is a side effect of forgiveness, isn’t it?
And if to forgive is to love, can I go that far and say that too? I don’t want her to hurt. I don’t want her to be afraid. I don’t want her to feel threatened or experience loss. I want her to be happy. I want her to have love and be loved and feel loved. I know it’s next to impossible these days but I wish she could feel safe. I want those she loves to be safe. I want everything to be okay for her.
I can’t do much more than marvel at this. Maybe nothing else will bubble up until I get this out and get it said, so I’m posting this instead of my usual format. I’m sitting still in the experience of this because it is unknown territory for me. I think this is forgiveness I’ve never known. And if I’m right I think it deserves notice, though I’m trying not to make the noting of it appear unseemly. I know I was supposed to be doing this all along, so I don’t get to claim credit for it as some great deed. We aren’t supposed to get Atta-Girls for being decent people, are we? No. We’re supposed to do it because it’s the right thing to do.
But still. Until today, I couldn’t do it. Or I wouldn’t.
And today I did. And I feel good about that, though it does not escape my notice that it took me YEARS to do it. The way I felt yesterday feels dead. It died a long and painful death but it feels dead to me now. All that resentment. All that frustration. All the bitterness. Dead. I want her to be happy. I want to imagine her joyful and thriving. I want the world to benefit from her gifts and talents. I want people to love her back.
We’ll see what happens tomorrow.