tools for the road of forgiveness
I just finished reading this book. It is not just for those who struggle with forgiving their father and mother. It is for those who struggle to forgive anyone, which at some level effects every human being on the planet. The thoughts expressed challenged the way I viewed those who have hurt me. Back in February I wrote a blog post about forgiveness. At that point I had just begun to read this book. It is one of those books that needs to be read slowly over time. You can only take in so much at once and then you need some space to process what needs to happen next in your life.
Many days I feel that I am still bumbling through living this out. As Fields says in her book, "I am just beginning. I am just learning to live a forgiving life, putting on the habit of mercy, choosing not to take offense, choosing to remember the depth of my own offenses, choosing to find joy in blessing rather than cursing." Choosing to find joy in blessing rather than cursing. When the offense happens everything within me screams for justice and the anger in my heart yearns to spill out in every conversation. But in this the cycle only continues as my words then poison one more heart. In that moment to find joy in blessing rather than cursing. I believe there in lies a great freedom.
Forgiveness sometimes looks like reconciliation, sometimes it looks like honoring someone by setting boundaries, sometimes it is spoken out loud and sometimes it is only meant for the quiet of your own soul.
"I have found what others have found before me. Choosing to forgive does not relieve all burdens. It does not free us from attachment and obligation. Instead, it brings a burden, but it is a worthy burden. And we will not know how light this yoke of love and forgiveness, how fitting the habit of mercy, until we step into it, wrapping it around our shoulders. We will feel then the full force of forgiveness, its power to lift and strengthen and move us from a land of bondage out into a full, spacious country with open gates, our hands open to all." ~ leslie leyland fields, author of forgiving our fathers and mothers