As I was walking home today from the zoo having chaperoned a field trip for my son’s 5th-grade class, forgiveness was on my heart. Our cultural story is that forgiveness is hard. As I let that statement rest for a moment in my being it was clear that no, it is not hard to forgive but rather it is quite a lot of work NOT to forgive.
I walked home down the tree-lined streets of my neighborhood with the brilliant sun hanging in the cerulean sky, cool breeze chilling my cheeks, hearing the sweet chirpy-chirps of the new finches in the bushes and feeling my heart open and grateful for this beauty that I am meant to love. My whole being wants to love. Wants to celebrate, rejoice, show gratitude, and be in a relationship with the world and with others.
Being in a relationship with others is certainly not always a cerulean sky and chirpy birds, we know. But nonetheless, we are creatures created to relate. To be in a relationship with one another. When we hold back our own relating, it is like damming up a river.
This doesn’t mean that our “relating” is always rainbows and unicorns. The river that flows within us is richly diverse in how we feel and experience the world. We get hurt and feel bad and sad. We get angry and feel afraid. This is all a healthy and normal part of being human.
But, if we hold on to that hurt, anger, fear and don’t let the natural waters of forgiveness flow…well, we know how that movie ends.
The root of the word “for” means “to completely”. To completely give is what we do when we forgive someone. Even that feels like rushing water…giving completely. It can be a process to get to this kind of giving and it can take time but what a HUGE gift that if we open to it these waters somehow want to rush forth…so that we might connect more fully and deeply with another. For we know, that when we are connected to each other we tend better to our families, communities, and world.
Where might you open up to the rushing waters of forgiveness today?