The Light of Forgiveness
I guess there has to be a certain amount of forgetting in the process. But the older I get, the more I realize that forgiveness really isn’t about forgetting, it isn’t about trying to make it all better. Sometimes in this life, shit goes down that you cannot make better...ever. Things happen to us, trauma happens, and people are forever changed. Some people never come back from the spiral, in that they want so desperately to forget even when forgiveness is not the goal. Forgiveness is not possible or so it may appear to them.
I have come to view forgiveness as an action I take for myself. Like I light that I shine to illuminate my own path. The light is very bright and warm, and others are benefitted just by my willingness to turn it on. I cannot contain light. It shines wherever it wants, without a care of whether or not the thing or person it shines upon is worthy of the light. It just shines and whomever might be benefitted, is benefitted.
That is how forgiveness works for me. I have to do the very hard work to find the light within my soul, then do the very hard task of flipping the switch. I have stood at that particular switch for a very, very long time. Standing in complete darkness because I am so afraid of what the light may reveal. Somehow I lived so long in the dark, that the light became terrifying. I knew that I would see better and I didn’t want to.
But here’s the thing: the pictures my mind conjures up in my head are way worse than any reality that light would beckon forth. My imagination and intellect a much more subtle foe than a light infused view of reality.
Life is full of regret. Things we wish we hadn’t done, had done, hadn’t said, said. We wish away the things that altered us because many of them are and were painful. Life altering painful. But what I have found is that if you are brave enough to shine a light on your own painful regrets as well as the regretful things others have done to us, we are able to view all things with compassion and begin to heal.
Loving kindness is something we can give ourselves, in fact, I am not sure how one can give it to others without giving it to ourselves first. How can you give away that which you don’t have?
And for me, it always starts with light. I stand at the switch cursing the darkness but fail to throw the switch because I am too afraid of what the light might reveal. And here is the kicker: so far, every single time I have thrown that fucker, the light has revealed another part of myself that is worthy of the light. The years of being banished to the darkness of no expression, gone in an instant and that shadowy side of me quickly assimilated into my more unified lightness of being. Every damn time.
So I wonder why I still prefer to languish in the dark sometimes...I have no real answer. Fear is a trusty retort, but I think it is more than that. I think that what I might fear more than anything else, is happiness. Pure joy at living. It seems so lofty and arrogant. Could one really live a full and rich life and not have it almost break you too? What if, in fact, nothing is actually wrong?
The idea that life is some riddle that has to be solved operates to rob me of the joy I feel, that is always available to me. It is the magic. It is the potent undercurrent that is always there, if I am willing to manifest it into being. Forgiveness is one way to call it forward. Shining the light of self care and compassion onto all that has happened to me, to you, to all of us in this life, gives me immediately access to another way that is soaked with light. I can come to think about forgiveness as extending a loving hand toward myself and all others. And that will always be available to me once I become willing to turn on the light. Light shines for all who are present, even if it is only in my mind. Light changes the color and texture of my memories, making tiny the demons of my past. The haunting ceased in light's healing presence. And forever, I only have to survive my own fear of the light.