Monday, September 25, 2017

50 for 50 day 19: Forgiveness

This is the 19th of 50 posts celebrating my 50th birthday. You can see the rest here.

There are a lot of things one can say about Facebook. You can celebrate the way it helps you keep in touch or bemoan the way it causes rifts. Both are true. I have mixed feelings about Facebook, for all that it has been a lifeline at times, but I've become cautiously fond of the memory feature, the way it shares events you posted on this date some time ago.

Today it reminded me of a blog entry I posted two years ago today, about atonement and forgiveness. I wrote, "What I have found as an antidote to guilt is forgiveness. It's not a clear path and it's something I have to find my way toward over and over again, but forgiveness helps." I was right. And at this point in my life I would expand upon it. Since we are in the midst of the Days of Awe it seems like an appropriate topic.

What I have found as an antidote to guilt, anger, resentment, frustration, and so on, is forgiveness. So often the person I need to forgive is myself. If I can give myself permission to make mistakes, to screw things up, to be mortified and then to try again in a new way, I am much more likely to grow and learn than if I let myself be consumed in the shame.

As I age I am finding it easier to forgive those who have hurt me. (In all honesty, it's much easier for forgive people for hurting than for hurting those I love, but that is not really the point of this essay, it's just a digression.) I may never want to see them again, but I can forgive them. That doesn't mean accepting endless abuse; part of forgiveness is being active about your own safety. It does mean that I no longer have to carry the burden of the resentment. I become lighter by forgiving them.

I fail at this all the time (and forgive myself for it) so I just keep trying. Some things or people are harder to forgive than others. So it is.

This is what 50 looks like. Walking with a forgiving heart.

(c)2017 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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