Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Forgiveness: A gift of the heart

orgiveness. That topic comes up somewhat regularly for me. And I just had a really deep conversation about it. The kind that doesn't normally pop up until a certain circumstance forces it on us. I am so grateful for that depth of discussion.

It's the "give" part that sticks to me and yesterday that was lurking in my brain, as yet unarticulated. Forgiveness, really, has more to do with the person who feels the need to forgive. Maybe a change of heart, a transformation, a softening. For adults, I don't think it can be immediate, because in order for us to believe we need to forgive, something big or longstanding has usually transpired. And, I believe the act is a process. Transformation from hardness to softness, hurt to healing unfolds over time. Much of the work of forgiveness happens on the part of the injured one.

For give. To give. To give for[th]. The act of giving.*

I love Quaker Phil Gulley's book "If Grace is True" as, over time, he has reached the conclusion that God loves us all and that enveloping love forgives everything. There isn't a final judgment with two lines: the saved and the damned.

We are ALL children of God and, very often, need to be reminded to look at ourselves and each other in that mirror of love.

When I am having difficulty with a person, sometimes, I visualize them as a child and my heart more easily sees, understands that soul.

Many years ago, after a wonderful facilitator led a retreat on forgiveness, I hatched (as if it were MY idea) a plan to host an evening of forgiveness at our meeting house. I was most-generously accommodated by our then minister. It was a very small group, but I knew numbers didn't matter. The few who attended warmed my heart. Enough to see what I had been called to this particular evening: I needed to forgive myself. I still need a periodic shove to do that. Thankfully, God knows what I need.

And sometimes that is to forgive.

[I don't mean to dismiss restitution for wrong-doing, I am merely addressing one side of the forgiveness issue here, now]* I like to look a words and what they mean for myself, without Webster – to explore them more deeply and personally

• Is there anything holding me back that could be softened by forgiveness? Anything stuck in my craw?
• Do I remember that I need to do to that for myself?
• Is there anyone from whom I could/should seek forgiveness?
• Can I remember what a soft heart feels like?

a lump in the throat
once swallowed
works its way
directly to
the heart

hard and cold,
it grows there
left unattended,

that's not
the experience of
a child

a child
will grab onto
that stone,
examine it
with wonder
and curiosity

either casting
it aside
or offering it
to someone

as a gift

a gift of
the heart


  1. Yup. I can relate. There's someone I've been trying to forgive for about 10 years. No kidding. It seems stupid, but how to forgive? Do I NEED to confront them? I know it's not required, but do I NEED to do it in order to finally let the darned thing go? I haven't told them what I think and feel. I have been very, very appropriate. I have cared too much about how they feel and not enough about how I feel. I have learned a lot from my struggle, but I am ready to let it GO!!!! How?

  2. Not stupid at all, truthful and such a struggle. Maybe YOU need to be heard. Can you do it to get what you need and still do it in love? That's always the test for me. Have you journaled about it? I mean, asked yourself what you feel you need to do. Be as honest as you can, then see what's right/appropriate when/if you approach the person. Sending prayers that way ...