October 6, 2010

Michael McCullough:  "Forgiveness is a brawny muscular exercise that I imagine someone with a great passion for life and a great hardy disposition being able to take on."

I've been thinking about this quote all day. I have so many different ways to think about being a more forgiving person. I can call up many faces, examine my emotional reaction, and brood on my hurt or my ideas of the way the owner of that face may lack or suck. Yeah, I can go to the brooding suck tank of fault pretty easily these days. But its not a place I enjoy, not a place I want to live. And when conflict can't be resolved, as is so often the case when dealing with the population of Suck, forgiveness is the only other option.

Is it false to forgive in a demeaning way? I think so. On the surface it often goes like this: "Bless their flawed little heart, they can't help how much they suck, poor little things." That kind of forgiveness is narcissistic. 

How about forgiving in a circular way? That does't work either. It goes like this: You suck. I don't want to be near your crazy dance of suck. So, I'll stay away just long enough to remember that I love you which is just long enough to get sucked into your crazy dance again which is just long enough to remember that you are dancing the crazy dance of suck. That kind of forgiveness is crazy making.

How about forced forgiveness? That's when you plaster a smile on your face and play nice. In psychological terms its called, Fake It To Make It. While you can fake your way through times of stress or fear, faking your way through a relationship is shallow. So that does't work either, unless shallow relationships feel good to you. I think people are far too complicated and mysterious to be so reduced, and knocking on the hollow void isn't my idea of a genuine life.

How then, to grasp this gorgeous bounteous expansive light kind of forgiveness? I'm thinking about it. And I'm thinking about God. And I'm thinking about Quakers. And I'm recalling all the best forgivers I've heard of: my husband, my children, Haven, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Tenzin Gyatso, Olive, dogs. A list before which I am unworthy. But there are clues in the list and hints and I'm thinking about it.

Today for a moment I summoned every unforgivable seeming face, in my mind, and I forgave. I forgave completely. It felt great. But it slipped, alarmingly easily, into the "Bless their heart" kind of forgiveness. I need more brawn, a hardier disposition, for all this letting go and acceptance
.  Or possibly, just to finally learn the truth of the situation: most of ones worldly trouble is self inflicted. Right? If you have a problem with someone, you probably ARE the problem. Who troubles our lives more than ourselves?

Interestingly, I never have the expectation of being forgiven. And I waste no time considering it.   If it happens, its lovely.  But its been a rare phenomenon in my life.  And anyway, if we truly do design most of our own trouble,  self forgiveness would be paramount.   But it has to be real.  Which involves remembering just how very much of your own trouble is your own fault - directly on a situation by situation basis, with almost everyone.  Even when your ego can't figure out how its your fault, it probably is your fault.  Which is a pretty serious kicker.   Yeah, that would take some Herculean mental and emotional brawn, for sure.  


Katherine said...

Anyone around here into Byron Katie?

candyn said...

Your brain is way too deep for mine tonight. I love so much of what you've said, but don't have the capacity to contribute. Though maybe I don't need to. You likely covered it all. Though, I do think it isn't always both parties at fault. Sometimes other people are just too far into their own random lake of crazy, they are drowning you trying to be saved. Sometimes they suck you in, even as you tried to stay safe and dry on the bank throwing life preservers like crazy.

I don't know if I forgive, but I try not to dwell. I try to avoid drama. Forgiveness sometimes doesn't even feel part of the equation. But I let the negative energy surrounding the person, the incidents go. Just let it leave if possible. Nothing. But nothing isn't forgiveness I suppose. Then again, who is keeping score? Nothing might be forgiveness, if no harm is no longer being tossed back and forth.

See I am breaking it down anyway, and my head is too spinny to support it. Must stop.

But I have to say...

"I don't want to be near your crazy dance of suck."

This should be a t-shirt. At least a greeting card. Though I suppose giving such a card doesn't fit into my 'avoid drama' philosophy.

Need wine. Need pillow. Good night, K. xoxoxo

val said...

I've never heard of him. Is he good?

Honestly? I think forgiveness is overrated. A grudge can be a self-protective endeavor at times. Our anger serves a purpose in our survival, and that's okay.

Forgiveness is an abstract thing, so often there are no distinct answers, but for me, it seems to come as a gift.

Either I forgive, and I know when it happens because there's a release from the mental fixing. I can let go of it. That feeling comes as a gift from somewhere beyond me, and it's a relief.

But a lot of people forgive me too for my blunders and oversights and mistakes, and that comes as a gift too, especially when it's from the kids.

Forgiveness finds us where it does. K, I love your blog (and you.) V

Cecelia (CC) said...

looked her up.
had heard of The Work
never had the source.

PS: Sutton has a request: Can you ask at THEA if anyone found a German Sheperd stuffed dog? And can you email me the link again for yahoo groups over a gmail account? it's my full maiden name ceceliaca....

thx a million