Friday, October 02, 2009

Love and Forgiveness

It's a marvel to me how you really cannot give Love away. I love that about Love. Try as you might, it comes right back to you. Love does, that is, and by Love I don't mean gestures made out of obligation or with an investment in a return on them. In fact, I'm not talking about any small-l love that goes off with strings attached to it. I am talking about Love freely given--that is to say, Love given with Love.

Why does it come right back? It comes right back because circulation is circulation; flow is flow, and there's no stopping it. We are that flow unless we step in and inhibit it.

I think of the cycle of photosynthesis. Rain, vegetation, transpira-
tion. Lakes, rivers; mountains, valleys. Ice, snow, clouds and fog. And round and round we go. However separate we might seem from such cycles inasmuch as we can observe them, we are not. Life force is life force, and we are particles of that one force. Not a reflection of it, not analogous to it, but IT itself.

So giving without strings attached, giving freely, means inevitably that I will be given to, at least as abundantly as I have given. This is not hocus pocus, any more than rain or rivers or mists are hocus pocus. It's just the way the cycle works. It is a cycle, after all: circulation is circulation; flow is flow.

Still, when my friend relates to me the story of giving away her ex's leather jacket which she had been storing for several years, I balk. "Ohh... you could've sold it on Ebay, I'm sure," I want to say. Generous to a fault, I am thinking. I know her hours just got cut back at work. She's feeling squeezed, thinking of taking on a roommate. I know she could use the money. That jacket could've paid some bills, is how I see it, in a flash. But the story continues.

"I think this'll fit you perfectly," she had told her neighbor, and sure enough, it did. Whereupon her neighbor made an offering of her own.

"Come over here," said the neighbor, inviting my friend to a table at her yard sale in progress. "Here," she says. "I know you liked this lamp." She proceeded to offer a beautiful light fixture that my friend had once admired. "It's yours if you want it."

She did want it, and happily took it home. And on and on it goes, because I am inspired by the story, and so I am moved to share it, this graceful reminder of how a loving gestures can't help but inspire another loving gesture. The jacket had cost my friend nothing, of course. And here she was "ahead" one lighting fixture: not a bad deal! But the ingredients of the swap aren't half as important as the qualities of it, by my estimation. My friend's gesture had been pure: unadorned, unadulterated, unattached. It was just plain thoughtful. She had something that she thought this other woman could use and enjoy. It was as natural as breathing for her to hand it over, expecting (needless to say) nothing in return. Her neighbor was moved by that purity, I'm sure. Et voila.

It's beautiful, yes? How unstoppable Love is when we don't block Its way.

And I do believe it was my friend's story, its effect on me, that helped spawn an insight in me sometime later. Out of the blue, it dawned on me that forgiveness is only ever of oneself, and that it only seems necessary or called for as long as we think there is something to forgive. It occurred to me, clear as day, that the so-called offenses of my father, mother, friend, lover, were or are but parts of myself that I had or have yet to absorb, accept or release. These behaviors or actions of the other that I judge as offenses stand out, it occurs to me now, not unlike colors occur to the eye as colors. A blue jay or blue flower is blue to the eye because it reflects (rejects, if you will) only blue light, where it absorbs all other light, all the other wavelengths in the spectrum. We don't see orange or red on the bird or the flower because they are absorbed before we can even detect their presence.

Imagine! How wonderful it is then when another gives the gift of showing us what we have not been able or ready to absorb.

Now I come full circle. There really isn't of course an "other" who shows this to us. You who has "done me wrong" are not you at all, really, so much as a part of me--of Self--seeking to come to terms with itself. You are so to speak an animation of a part of myself that I have up to now rejected or resisted or somehow tried to hold away from myself. The "other" is a gift, to say the least: a blessed, willing conveyance for integration.

I see: these so-called annoyances or offenses don't come to assault me; rather, they come to assist me. Nor do they befall me, but rather, come at my own bidding. As long as I am fractured in any way, I am not fully integrated, and consequently I am prey to the belief that I am something other than whole, complete. In effect, I ask to be "wronged" so that I can be "made right" again. So that I might be returned to my original, perfect condition.

The lover, the brother, the mother: they are not to be forgiven; they are to be thanked, appreciated--or not, of course. I can resist, for sure. I can spit and flail, blame, even cast out the "other." But here's the rub: it's not they that I reject, but myself. So as long as I resist, I prolong my own estrangement of self from Self. I am offender and offended both--puppet and puppeteer. Whatever I choose, I have myself to either blame or to thank. And should I persist, consciously or not, in my estrangement, there is in fact no fault, no blame. I am but responsible. Ideally I claim responsibility, that grace, and give it to myself.


Post a Comment

<< Home