I have been thinking about forgiveness a lot lately. Not moving in one direction or the other, just frozen a bit as I think about how to approach it. How I should negotiate it.
Being angry, and not being willing to forgive someone is like living in a mountain range with no base camp. It’s twisted, craggy and solitary. It should be a good place to be but it’s not. One of its inherent pleasures is that it offers you a great view of your own rightness. That’s because every day that you spend there, your view of your own rightness gets stronger but you don’t’really gain any ground. Your backpack gets heavier, your crampons dig in even deeper and before you know it, you are carrying so many reasons for why you have been maligned that you need a few Sherpas to help you carry the blame and fault.
Living on this mountain range of rightness has been exhausting. And I am ready to put down the backpack, fire the Sherpas and find my way back to base camp. One of the hardest parts of the journey may be realizing that I need to forgive myself. (Because that’s always the hardest part, isn’t it? Accepting that it always takes two to make a mess of things is a harsh reality.) But I suppose dealing with my own mess and forgiving myself is a good enough place to start.
A few thoughts that are inspiring me today about forgiving, both myself and everyone else:
1. Keep a fair-sized cemetery in your back yard, in which to bury the faults of your friends.--Henry Ward Beecher
2. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.—Unknown
3. Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were. --Cherie Carter-Scott
4. He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.--George Herbert
5. Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past. --Unknown
6. It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. --William Blake
7. Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.--Mark Twain
8. Forgiveness is the final form of love. --Reinhold Niebuhr
9. One forgives to the degree that one loves. --Francois de La Rochefoucauld
10. Always forgive your enemies--nothing annoys them so much.-- Oscar Wilde