Do you remember my post last month on forgiveness? It seems so coincidental that shortly after writing that, everyone in those dreams, on that island, in that beautiful home, sprang up out of the woodwork and offered me the opportunity to forgive. My friend blames it on the warm weather. Warm weather or Universal Powers that Be, I accept the assignments as they come, but struggle with guidelines and boundaries.
A friend just returned from Disney World earlier this week. She was telling me about jets that wrote out the words, “JESUS FORGIVES” across the sky above Disney for all of them to see (it was Gay Days at Disney, I guess the pilots wanted the gay people to know that gays and their supporters are forgiven for riding amusement rides and taking pictures with a giant mouse?). I thought about that, Jesus forgiving, and wondered exactly how He goes about it? If you want Him to forgive you, do you first have to own up for what you’ve done? What if you don’t even know you’ve done something wrong? Before Jesus waves His hand and says, “Forget it, let’s go out for a drink,” does He require that you acknowledge what an asshole you were, and then make you squirm a little to earn back His trust?
How far does forgiveness go? My brother, for instance, didn’t bother returning my calls and emails or my mother’s calls for over two years. You can imagine how livid I was knowing that he was out there somewhere, while I took on the challenges with my mother alone. He came back as if no time had ever passed, dropped off his cats and explained that he had an undiagnosed phycological fear of phones, emails, voicemails and Facebook. I believed him.
Still questions sneak into my mind like, “Would he have bothered to stop by at all if he had found someone else as gullible as myself to take in these critters?” One of them needs medication twice a day and the cat box smell drives me crazy (smells like petting zoo, even though I scoop daily).
Other encounters with the Forgiven Ones have me punching down little monsters that tell me, “Do you remember that the last time you two spoke, she called you a %#@!?”, but then I’ll quickly take off on a memory, I see their humor, fun times and experiences replayed in my mind and I miss them and I am filled with a sense of happy reunion and peace.
Another part of me wants to spell it out. I want them to know exactly what they did wrong, in the sky, like the jets over Disney, but then I couldn’t figure out what good that would do. It might help me to move forward with an understanding that they know what they did to make me upset, but would that keep them from doing it again? And if they happened to do it again, I would be doubly disappointed because I had taken the time and energy to spell it out to them. At least in the midst of all this forgiveness action, I am comforted with the fact that I know what to expect this time.
If friends are like rivers, they run and detour and part and swell and pool and overflow and dry up and I came to the conclusion that asking a friend or a person to understand her misdoings might be similar to asking a river to understand why it flows; it’s her innate action, way of being and existence. If by experience, you know one river or the other has pirañas or river sharks, then it’s up to you to take note and approach those rivers with caution in the future, but like all rivers, I think we end up in the same place anyway, so you better get used to an occasional nip every now and again.
I’m hoping to know better than to touch the hot pot, and I will attempt to steer clear and use my head, but as I sit here and write with a sleeping cat on my lap, hearing her tiny breath inhale into her tiny triangular nose and I imagine her little cat lungs expanding with the same oxygen that my bigger human lungs expand with as well and, here we are, in the same beautiful house (of the world), on the same beautiful island (of the universe), that we all share, and to be here and to be truly happy, I’m fairly certain that we have to forgive. Even if it smells like petting zoo at times, or you get nipped in the ass by a river shark, it’s all water under the bridge, and the world really is a tiny place, and our lives are too tiny short to harbor anything but a boat that will carry you on down those crazy rivers.