Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Forgive Once

I’ve been asked … repeatedly … how I do what I do; how I keep going; how I’ve gotten through the past several years.  I don’t really have much of an answer right there, on the spot – I rarely do.  So I usually just get all self-conscious and nervous and smile and say something like “It’s all God, not me” or “just one day at a time, that’s all I can do”.

But I think I found a better answer as I was finishing a novel this week.  The author wrote perfectly what’s in my heart but I can never seem to get out of my mouth.

This.  This is, for the most part, my “secret”:

… the memory of a conversation with Frank floated into her awareness.  “But how?  How can you just get over these things, darling?” she had asked him.  “You’ve had so much strife but you’re always happy.  How do you do it?”
            “I choose to,” he said.  “I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened … or I can forgive and forget.”
            “But it’s not that easy.”
            He smiled that Frank smile.  “Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting.  You only have to forgive once.  To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.  You have to keep remembering all the bad things. … I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount.  That I did a very proper job of hating, too. … No,” – his voice became sober – “we always have a choice.  All of us.”

So that’s it.  Somewhere along the way I decided that it was too exhausting to spend my time remembering all the bad things.  I choose to forgive the people, the circumstances, the pain and move on.

I try.  I’m not always successful … not even close to always … but it is something I strive for and, with God’s help, I’m able to achieve for the most part.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t remember, or that I don’t hurt when I do, but I don’t like to dwell there anymore.  At the moment, I’m choosing the here and now; praying and working toward a better day ahead.

We always have a choice.  All of us.  My choice is to forgive.