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On Forgiveness

What does it mean to forgive?

I have been asking that question recently. Very easily we say we know what it means and what it takes to forgive but when, pushed to the brink where the ability or inability to forgive begins to carry weight, we suddenly find ourselves asking what it really means. I keep saying to my mind that it's time to forgive, but these are mere words and words that do not as yet mean much. It's as if I know that it is the next natural step in my mind but I don't see myself taking that very step yet. Forgive, forgive. . . what in the world does that mean?

Do I forget? If it meant forgetting then clearly I haven't forgiven. It's not that I consciously try to remember; the mind feasts on the very wounds it has obtained in the past. It's all automatic and I have tried to let it be, to acknowledge the memories and leave them neutral without carrying emotions any more. I'm no match for the strength of the mind and its visual plays; better to leave it alone as it remembers and reminds its self. I don't have anything to do with it anymore.

Do I silence myself? But the thing is I've been too silent about it. I've been hiding behind the words and faces trying to conceal what still reveals itself. These are games. But they see. A friend told me recently that there's a shadow looming over me. And it reveals itself more in my silence than in my words. But what do I say? And when I do in fact speak, I realize that as I try to explain my emotions or what I've gone through, I sound like a child who cries foul in a game that he has played in all along. But games are unforgiving; these are the ways that they are played. Silence is resentment of the rules of the game.

Does forgiveness mean closure? That's my favorite word for that is all that it is. How can one close off something that didn't even begin? They say that you decide to call it quits and stop the game altogether. But to a mind that feels innocent and to a heart which still beats, it cannot stop the fall it has taken. "Someday" the fall will break. It means that closure needs time and time is unforgiving in its beautiful mornings and silent evenings. You are all alone and there is no other way. Your mind says you stand on firm ground already but you know you're still falling. How now? One can never take back the leap he has taken.

But does not forgiving mean giving again? To give again -- when it has already given all that it could give. Nothing could be more absurd and nothing could be more painful for the pure of heart. It is so. For to give again means to forgive the self in its mistake, to once again give credit to your self even if it has been bankrupt, to buttress the loss and bestow upon it anew a chance as if it was the first time. Love and hate of yourself are two sons of the same earth. Forgiving others is easy; but to forgive yourself would be to live with the mistakes and carry it with you for the rest of your life. That is why you shall always remember; that is why you become silent upon seeing those scars that always seem to be closing already but leave a feeling that it's still a fresh wound. To give again would be to give anew bearing the weight of the past but to walk with a lighter step.

To forgive yourself would then mean giving yourself a chance again even if you do not yet see yourself taking it. It is to prepare yourself for another giving upon the arrival of the other who is most worthy of being given what has been taken away from you. It is to hope anew in the midst of loss.

I remember that at the height of it, I sent my last message. I said, "Peace be with you." Perhaps forgiveness is a hopeful word that brings peace.


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