I wonder how forgiveness can be a noun when it’s an action inspired from a heart bigger than the damage it sustains? It’s a decision to put our bleeding self in the shoes of the one who caused the blood to flow. It’s the choice to show mercy when none was given. It is the giving of our pardon to the one who often doesn’t desire it to begin with.
A noun is the naming of a class of people, a place, a thing. That would make sense if we were “forgivers” or put ourselves “in a state of forgiveness” or began “laying some forgiveness on somebody”.
Forgiveness is a radical act. It’s bad-ass and it’s fucking hard to do at times.
We say we do so easily, and we sound so noble and compassionate when we offer it, but then what? We continue to bleed and process the bubbling mess of harsh words spoken, careless negligence, lack of respect and being pummeled with neurotic behavior. Sometimes we’re the bearer of the wounds and other times we are the inflictor of them. We say the words to others and we ask for them in turn.
Too often we neglect to ask for absolution for ourselves ~ from ourselves.
True forgiveness is rarely a one shot deal. We may have to repeat it daily, or in some circumstances, moment by moment. It can take a damn long time. We may have to counsel ourselves as memories flare of intentional injury or criminal negligence. We find that we have to relentlessly re-affirm our commitment to that decision when dealing with long term consequences.
Then comes the inner work, the tougher work, of forgiving ourselves for our choices, our allowing, our aiding and enabling of the offense. We learn the hard way to forgive ourselves for trusting and believing, without falling into the trap of coloring all of humanity with the taint of broken faith.
We redefine ourselves, breaking our hearts into a new way of being open.
Forgiveness isn’t a noun to me. It’s an act of courage, an act of love, an expansion of self. It’s an unclenching of the fist of bitterness and a letting go of the desire for retribution. It’s not an act of piety grudgingly practiced to be worthy of eternal life.
It’s the gift to ourselves of Internal Life.