Monday, April 24, 2006

Looking Back Over Lent

"Life is an adventure in forgiveness." -- Norman Cousins

As I have mentioned out here, my Lenten discipline was to forgive each day -- someone else, myself, God, whatever and whomever. Now that Lent is over, I have been sorting out what happened as a result, and seeing if I am any different now from before.

I am seeing forgiveness differently.

I realize:

....that I had no real idea what forgiveness was -- except some sense that it restored the status quo that existed before the need for forgiveness arrived. And I was entirely wrong about that.

....that God is better at forgiveness than I am, and that I can take it better than I can dish it out.

....that some Big Forgivenesses take time, and that they evolve over that time , and that they take work.

....that forgiveness is more often me giving myself something, than giving to someone else. Like giving myself permission to not live out of a wounded space.

....that it is easier to forgive if someone is sorry for what they did, but even more needful if they are not.

....that the Gospel really is about forgiveness at every level.

....that it will take my life to learn about forgiveness.

....that God yearns for me to forgive.

....that most forgiveness is a process

....that Life without liberal doses of forgiveness is barren

Developing and honing the spiritual muscles of forgiveness, I am convinced, has to be a conscious task, a true discipline. Our world reinforces not forgiving at such a level of intensity that we must deliberately focus on forgiveness.

I had hoped that Lent would leave me less burdened with old wounds, and it has -- sometimes in ways I could not have imagined. Lent has also turned up some old ground that I had neglected that requires the nourishment of forgiveness. The lessons have been both massive and subtle. I have been left seeing my brokenness as must more graphic and at closer range than I might have liked. I have felt the urge behind the Great and Holy Unraveling that is Forgiveness.

People, dear and beloved people, both on and off-line have helped guide me to what I thought would be the conclusion of the journey, but instead to a place which is only the beginning.


Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

maybe we always carry the scars of the very things our forgiveness is for. i think forgiveness sometimes can be an every day burden...

your blog is wise, thank you

5:23 AM  
Blogger Mata H said...

Ah, Harbour, I think you are right about the scars -- but you have me wondering if, after forgiveness, they are scars or echoes. You are so right about the everyday responsibility of forgiveness. I have come now to see it as a spiritual discipline.

Wise, eh? Hmmm... that kindness leaves me scratching my cranium in winder :-)

8:46 AM  
Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

in winder i think maybe right....i think maybe the scars we carry remain, but the pain slips away (it seems)...maybe some scars echo.....

10:25 AM  
Blogger Mata H said...

Dear Harbour -- You know why I resisted the word "scar"? It made me think of disfigurement. But I think you are right and I am not. A scar is a mark of travel -- no more, and assuredly no less. I am thinking of a scar now as the ghost of a wound.

5:47 PM  
Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

the ghost of a wound....painfully beautiful

i think we are all disfigured, it's the mark of travellers as opposed to tourists...

6:05 PM  

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