19 Jan One Small Action
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostilities. Longfellow
A young relative of mine is in the last stages of cancer, a friend’s daughter committed suicide last week, and a friend of mine is literally fighting for her last breath, under hospice care.
I’m so aware of the fragile nature of life, while also being aware of my own pettiness. I recently gossiped about somebody, expressing not-so-kind judgment and criticism. To my horror, those comments got back to that person. However, she was generous enough to forgive me.
Last week I attended a church service and listened to the often-recited Lord’s Prayer “. . . forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us . . .” Who do we forgive? How about the ones we hold grudges against based on judgment about what they should or shouldn’t have done (according to our own rules)? Like me, do you sometimes find yourself kinder to strangers than to those you love? Unforgiving mostly to those you’re closest to?
There have been several occasions in my life when I discovered that someone was angry at me and had been holding on to their grievance about me for years. And I never knew. I have been shocked when I learned about it. Yet, it happens. But if not given the opportunity to apologize, it sits in the unsaid.
I truly believe people are always doing the very best they can, given what they’re dealing with – stuff that most of us will never know. Thus I opened with that Longfellow quote which I love.
I invite you to join me in looking at any grievances you have about someone (large or small) — and consider forgiving them. In truly forgiving, we can return to love. It’s what most religions preach: “Love your neighbor as yourself” or “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Life is fragile. Short. And having spent the past week with my 10-month old grandson who simply loves unconditionally, I’m aware that that is what this life is about. Anything short of love, I believe is only our righteousness and judgment about how we think others should be. In forgiveness, we get closer to a world filled with love! I’m deeply grateful for your reading this and even happier if it has inspired you to actually forgive and love again.