Wednesday, September 24, 2008


"Then weltering seas of filth
And ever-rippling dung: and plunged therein,
Whoso has wronged the stranger here on earth,
Or robbed his boylove of the promised pay,
Or swinged his mother, or profanely smitten
His father's cheek, or sworn an oath forsworn…"
Aristophanes, “The Frogs”

It’s come to my attention recently, that forgiveness isn’t a bad way to go, even if the above isn’t guaranteed, or even possible. I don’t have to practice turning the other cheek very often, because I’m generally such a sweet, upbeat and simply charming person. I’d prefer to make myself into a joke, rather than to face conflict and open hostility. It’s my way of avoiding uncomfortable mojo. It’s what makes me such a sucker for passive aggression – I’m easily wounded by the invisible bad vibe.

So, even though I preach forgiveness, I have promised myself to stop making excuses for the bad behavior of others. It’s all I can manage these days to forgive myself. One thing I know is there’s no way out of here alive. If the show ends when the curtain falls on my last performance, why not go out doing something that feels good to me. If I can be anything I want to be, why not be kind, tender, and forgiving? Then again, why not have some fun and be rude, disagreeable and generally unlikable?

My answer is that perhaps there is some great wheel turning at the heart of the universe, and we’ll all be back again and again, or at least until we get it right. Perhaps there’s some cosmic dice game and the odds are on the House. Maybe karma works.I'll always pay my boylove just in case.

I’m ducking an important issue here: whether there is such a thing as unforgivable behavior. Of course evil exists. We should speak out when our silence gives power to those who hurt us. And like any good parent correcting any misbehaving child, all grown ups should call other grownups on unacceptable behavior.

Good exists too.I say I’d rather generate a forgiving vibe than an angry one, and it seems to be my life’s work to live up to that.

I’ll be in the garden if anybody needs me.


walk2write said...

I hope the great wheel is a merry-go-round and not a ferris wheel. I'm afraid of heights, and I would hate to be dipped in the dung when it hits bottom. It's hard to remember what a good vibe feels like when you're in the land of the Road to Perdition. Something about this place...

Roses and stuff said...

Your post today, really made me think. Evil seems to be everywhere - two days ago there was another school massacre in Finland, for example. It's sometimes difficult to believe that people are essentially good, but I'm trying to.
One of your sentences spoke directly to me: "I’m easily wounded by the invisible bad vibe" - that's me, although I'm trying to learn how to deal with it.

Zoë said...

Forgiveness is the path to self-healing. Or that is my experience anyway.


فرانسيس said...

I think very little is "unforgivable," but that doesn't mean we need to let other tie little ribbons of yuck to us. Still trying to figure out how to opt out with out condoning...

DCup said...

I aim for forgiveness. I get almost there for most things, but sometimes I have trouble getting all the way there.

TC said...

Is there any truth to "forgive and forget?" I have issues when someone says they forgive you, but then two weeks or ten years later, the incident is brought to the fore again. Is it impossible to forgive without forgetting?

Martha in Michigan said...

This reminds me of an apology I sent to R recently. It is discouraging to find myself, in late middle age, still falling so far short of my ideals in my actual behavior. I aim to be kind, accepting, calm, welcoming, and wise to others. Too often, though, my sarcastic, judgmental, cruel, superior side emerges. Does the fact that it happens more easily when "mass quantities" have been consumed mean that it is the "real" me? Big sigh.

Weeping Sore said...

Zoe and Martha,
I don't think its possible to ever forget. On the other hand, you can't forgive until at least try to forget.

I knew somebody else who claimed the underlying personality comes when substances are abused. I say we start by forgiving ourselves (you know who you are).