How to forgive


A betrayal:

In the aftermath of a betrayal when old fears become real, when worst nightmares find ways to wear skin and grow teeth, when everything terrible comes true when there’s little trust and much pain – is when you begin to hold poems, know them and feel them. And these poems collect to gently nudge the forgiveness out of you.

Those who’ve never asked for forgiveness:

An apology given when it’s not even sought is a gift that contains all the big-ness in the world.

Those who like to cloak insults with jokes:

Laughter is forgiveness but laughter is also revenge.

A parent:

Think of your mother at 34, negotiating with her children for an afternoon nap. Lunch was over and the dishes were done but before she’d slipped into one precious hour of slumber she’d laid out all the conditions, and addressed all her worries. “Please don’t wake me up till 3:30, keep the volume low, don’t fight for the remote, give that back to her, if you’re hungry there are biscuits but eat a banana, don’t go outside it’s too hot, don’t wake me up, let me sleep…,” she’d said before she’d curled into bed and closed herself to the world with an elbow and half an arm over her eyes.

How can you not forgive someone so tired, so young?

A child:

The only way to forgive a child is immediate.

The chair that stubbed your toe:

Those chairs that deliberately stand in your way, placing their bulk, their wood, their opaque dimensions of unseeable lumber in the middle of your path, when you’re so busy and your mind is so full? Those chairs must first be beaten, then cursed for being so….wood.

And then they must be forgiven for letting you pause and reconsider the importance of thoughts that leave you blind when your eyes are still open. Thoughts that lead you to walk into chairs.

The aggressive stranger who put you out:

Somewhere on the hell site called Twitter, I read a soft line that made sense. It went like this: you never know what someone is going through so be kind.

And in that sentence I have found the ability to forgive unfounded surliness, a lack of thank yous, unreturned smiles, the failure to say ‘excuse me’, rolled eyes, knitted eyebrows, unprovoked scowls, a bit of honking/ shoving/pushing/elbowing, low growls, curt retorts and other minor aggressions that usually tend to ruin at least 12.75% of my day.

Although I must admit that this magnanimity does not extend to those who cut queues.

The events that led to this particularly low point in your life:

Forgiveness is easier in retrospect, in the dull glow of hindsight, in the bracing knowledge that all that you’ve lost, has also made you grow.

How to forgive those who apologize but make the same mistakes again:

Some people like dictators, fascists, liars, cheats, and those who never-ever switch off geysers, are unforgivable. Forgive yourself for not forgiving them.

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