What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a tough row to hoe. It's a bitch of a thing, finding in your heart a way to let go. But that is because of all the baggage that comes with forgiveness. The forgetting and the laying aside the pain. It's a societal construct invented by those who needed a great deal of forgiveness.

I can forgive, but I'll never forget. Forgiveness is an unburdening, an absolution for the soul of the person being forgiven.

In my religious tradition, we pray to forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Letting go of the debt erases the tally on the person who had the debt, but the person who held the debt is still out. Their books still don't tally, and probably never will.

If funerals are for the living, forgiveness is for the debtor. Sin against others creates debt, given by those who are sinned against and carried by those doing the sinning. Sin is a taking, a borrowing against the fabric of our beings.

So, when we forgive, we wipe out the mark against the hearts of those who have sinned against us. But it doesn't remove the cost we've borne, we just say we won't collect on that debt. That cost is only erased if the sinner reciprocates.

Sometimes they can't, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take the weight of that marker from their heart. There's a reason the ancients held death superstitions regarding the weight of hearts, why Marley was encumbered by chains and money boxes. The markers of our debts have weight.

I take those markers back, Dad. For the debts against me, I forgive you. I do not forget, and can't take the markers you received from others. But you owe me nothing, now. Let your heart be not weighted by those debts against me.

2 comments:

Random Michelle K said...

I'm very sorry for this difficult loss for you.

Forgiveness is a terribly hard thing to manage, but I think it is more for the forgiver than for the forgivee--we have to let go of the bitterness to keep it from poisoning us and our current relationships.

Much love to you as you go through this difficult time.

Be good to yourself.

Steve Buchheit said...

Thanks, Michelle. But that's the problem with forgiveness. I can let go of his debt, but he holds mine. And now he's beyond that ability, and I'm unable to forget. All that's left is the distance time brings.