The Desiderata of Forgiveness
I have come to realize that there are some people so angry with life that the idea of embracing even the concept of forgiveness would be akin to a two year old learning to speak Latin. In fact, “Desiderata” is Latin and means “desired things” …. Max Ehrmann wrote this as his ode, his “desiderata for achieving happiness” in the mid 1920’s; it will speak to us perennially, or so it should.
The “Desiderata of Happiness” makes a perfect case for forgiveness, for kindness, honesty, and certainly for acceptance. It says so much about the need for dreams, aspirations, and a peaceful heart…. This excerpt, these few lines, have special meaning in this discussion:
“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story….. if you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself…Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And, whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
I secretly hope that you, reader of this blog who may be so stuck in your ways, immoveable or unwilling to accept an apology from someone who has broken your heart – I hope that you will read this and at least remember that we are all only human, after all. We are all we have – we only have one another; we only have forgiveness, or so it seems to me.
I spoke honestly to a friend recently and was shunned, dropped and stepped on. My “friend” of course, was never really a friend, I know that now, but she wore the cloak of kindness for a time. In reality, I was being used and the friendship was merely a mirage on top of a façade, to be conjured up when convenient, dismissed conveniently, too.
After begging for forgiveness, though I had nothing to apologize for, and being rebuked over and over, I finally began to see, finally, clearly, with the left side of my brain, that though I was placing the blame on myself out of desperation to win back a friendship (which was really never a friendship to begin with), it was nothing I did or said. And then, I looked at myself and saw something I didn’t much like….I began to see my desperation for acceptance. Almost a fervent yearning to continue to believe in a friendship that never was.
It is just a terrible way to feel… It feels demeaning to beg for forgiveness simply because I didn’t quite know what else to do or say.
I was not being honest with myself, that became finally clear.
I am grateful for this experience now because it has shown me that I need a little retuning in the self esteem / self worth arena… a realignment! Gravitating toward positive and loving people is much more fun, anyway! People that know how to shower kindness just because they embody it. Now, that’s good for the soul.
I will let this teacher – this experience – move out from under that corner of dread in my waking hours now. (Thank you, my dear friend Michelle, for always reminding me of this: “when the student learns his lesson, the teacher disappears” ….)
Michelle also tells me at every turn that we must choose gratitude and happiness. She says: “Nature never reveals its secrets, it just responds to methods of questioning.”
Nature did not automatically reveal its secrets to me…. But, I am now questioning and the answers are moving into focus, thanks to wise friends like Michelle.
For a full read of Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata” just Google the title, or click here: http://www.fleurdelis.com/desiderata.htm