To Forgive…

Strangely, forgiveness never arises from the part of us that was actually wounded. The wounded self may be the part of us incapable of forgetting, and perhaps, not actually meant to forget, as if, like the foundational dynamics of the physiological immune system our psychological defenses must remember and organize against any future attacks — after all, the identity of the one who must forgive is actually founded on the very fact of having been wounded.

Stranger still, it is that wounded, branded, un-forgetting part of us that eventually makes forgiveness an act of compassion rather than one of simple forgetting. To forgive is to assume a larger identity than the person who was first hurt, to mature and bring to fruition an identity that can put its arm, not only around the afflicted one within but also around the memories seared within us by the original blow and through a kind of psychological virtuosity, extend our understanding to one who first delivered it. Forgiveness is a skill, a way of preserving clarity, sanity and generosity in an individual life, a beautiful way of shaping the mind to a future we want for ourselves; an admittance that if forgiveness comes through understanding, and if understanding is just a matter of time and application then we might as well begin forgiving right at the beginning of any drama rather than put ourselves through the full cycle of festering, incapacitation, reluctant healing and eventual blessing.

To forgive is to put oneself in a larger gravitational field of experience than the one that first seemed to hurt us. We reimagine ourselves in the light of our maturity and we reimagine the past in the light of our new identity, we allow ourselves to be gifted by a story larger than the story that first hurt us and left us bereft.

David WhyteConsolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

The truth is formed in silence

The truth is formed in silence and work and suffering – with which we become true. But we interfere with God’s work by talking too much about ourselves – even telling God what we ought to do – advising God how to make us perfect and listening for God’s voice to answer us with approval. We soon grow impatient and turn aside from the silence that disturbs us (the silence in which God’s work can best be done), and we invent the answer and the approval which will never come.     Thomas Merton, journal entry November 12, 1952


The Waking – Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

go at once and make peace

If you are bringing your gift to the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift in front of the altar; go at once and make peace with your brother or sister, and then come back and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23–24)

hands people friends communication

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plum trees

Plum Trees
The blossoming plums are a comforting sight,
they understand I am heavy with wine
– Chiang K’uei

do you recall
when I planted plum trees
to the east of our home

and dusk promised us
a life still
as a Chinese scroll

yet later in darkness
I turned away
and seemed to sleep

so many winters
my head heavy
my plum trees gone