“Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.” ~ Anne Lamott
I read the above quote earlier today and was blown away by its meaning. Mostly because I, Rae, in all of my desire to be nice, appropriate and kind, it makes it even more difficult to forgive someone from time to time. Anne Lamott, in all of her infinite wisdom also says that “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back.”
Honestly, I want to hit back some days. There are only a few people on that list. Who even after the time has passed since the offense, actions, deception, etc where I still wouldn’t mind hitting back. I’m human. I try and work on it. I find the less I try to forcefully let go, the better I feel. In times past, I have forgiven with almost no remembrance of it having been a chore. Like one day, I’m as angry as Bluto and seeing red and a week or two later, I’m all zen and peace like Mother Teresa. I’ve written about the importance of forgiving myself and talked about it when I wrote about choosing (or not) to give someone a second chance.
I think the quote mostly hit me like a brick today because I’m coming upon my 38th year of life. While I can’t be more excited – I really am! I also often think about how differently things could have been done if I hadn’t dated a certain person (or several), hadn’t moved to certain places, had allowed others to remain out of my life and kicked some out much sooner. During this month I become very reflective often to the tune of becoming relatively critical of myself. But seeing that quote this morning made me stop and think about a few things. It made me realize I need to stop the hope of having had that better past and start realizing now is the time I have, now can create the next moments, the better moments for tomorrow.
It’s easier said than done. Like I said, some days, I still want to hit back. I’ve found the best thing I can do for myself is to let those people out of my life and allow for it to remain as such.
No one really likes to talk about forgiveness. At least not most people I know. It [seems] is much easier to hold onto whatever offense someone has committed and hold them responsible. It seems much easier to continue to think about the past and wonder: What if I hadn’t ________? What if I would have ___________?
So this month, one of the things I’ll be working on is abandoning hope of having had a ‘better’ past. A better past would mean I wouldn’t have met all of you. It would mean I would possibly miss out on all of the current and future goodness. There’s no future in spending time on all of the days past. While it’s good to have some reflection, it’s better to understand where you are and why you’re there. In honor of that, I’ll be creating a list with items I want and expect to accomplish over the next gifted year of life.