Monday, May 18, 2009

Peace and Forgiveness

"When you disturb the sand dune and everything starts to cave in on itself, there is, granted, a period of time when it feels as if the tumbling will never stop, the chaos will never end, the winds will never cease. But the good news is that the sand inevitabley reestablishes itself in another angle of repose. The pattern may be different; the dunes may be a little bigger or a little smaller, but the sand inevitably return to stasis, to balance, once again, if you just give it time."

-William F. Schults "Hold On" UUWorld

I have read this quote to myself every day, sometimes more than once a day, for the past week. It has been my meditation, my bible verse, my prayer, my mantra... and it has gotten me through. And now my dune is at a new angle of repose. However, looking back, I realize that this wasn't simply a waiting game, sitting through a storm while the sands pelted me and swirled all around me.

I helped the sand to settle, I helped to throttle the storm. My tool? Forgiveness.

What exactly happened to cultivate this storm is irrelevent here. The details are insignificant. I will say that a judgement was made against my moral character (something I hold in the highest regard). And this judgement was made by a friend. And this judgement hurt me, my husband, and could have damaged my family. The winds were whipping all around me, and my angle of repose was deepley disturbed.

For a day or two I was really angry and confused. I struggled and questioned. I read this passage over and over again, along with some verses from the Tao Teh Ching. I have always been a peacemaker, never one to buck the system or rock the boat. Some friends have accused me of being a bit naive, a pushover, too innocent, too trusting. But those are just the words masking the forgiveness that has always been in my heart. It is part of my nature, my character.

Why should I forgive someone who hurt me, broke my trust, and made judgments about me? Because I have the power to forgive. Because once I forgive, I can let go, I can let the sand settle. Once I have sustained a state of forgiveness, I can breathe again. I have released myself from the conflict, and I can heal. Because I want to be forgiven

I hope that, though all of this, my friend will come away with a life-changing lesson: That you shouldn't always walk through life seeing only through your eyes, and never your heart. I truly believe that forgiveness is one of the first steps to leading a peaceful existence. At least I know that it can bring calm to a storm.

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