Forgiveness April 10, 2009
Good Friday. One lesson is forgiveness.
It’s harder than it sounds.
It takes changing from demands to understanding.
When I understood my mother’s fear
It led so quickly to compassion, then forgiveness,
After seven decades stalled, resentful.
Now, what about forgiveness for myself —
When I’m less than perfect,
Can’t muster total calm,
Need some help.
Can I understand myself — be compassionate for me–
wrap my soul in loving kindness?
I think the secret’s in recalling
That I’m living on a learner’s permit.
I remember trying to teach my daughter how to drive a stick shift when she had her learner’s permit. The experience was so disastrous, in a large college parking lot on Sunday afternoons, that I couldn’t stand to stay in the car with her lurches and the resulting grinding of gears. It was my car she was tearing up, and I kept getting out and walking away. I was more fortunate in my own learner’s permit stage, in that my parents’ car was an automatic shift. My own mother, who was learning to drive at the same time I was, paid for a professional driving teacher, who regularly (figuratively) tore his hair out at my timid panic at driving over 10 miles an hour, even on a parkway, and repeated, despairingly, “If you’re born to be shot you’ll never be hung. Drive faster!!!” Over a lifetime, both my daughter and I have experienced many “learner’s permit” moments — times with life choices, relationship development, parenting, making financial decisions, accepting spiritual understanding, when we lurched and ground the gears outrageously. And yet, we survived and grew (and even, eventually, learned to drive a car!).
Forgiveness is born of compassion, and generates peace.
. All of us in physical bodies are experiencing whole lives as learners. When I remember that I don’t know it all, it helps me at a deep level to remember the importance of compassion for others and to accept that we all have the right to make mistakes in our search for growth. Therefore, if we can each distance ourselves from our own hurt feelings, we can find it in our hearts to forgive those close to us as well as our own selves. Doing so is the way to Inner and Outer Serenity.