…this is what we create New Year’s Resolutions for, for this word at the top of this post. Despojando. It means to get rid of, to let go… it’s a beautiful word, yes? Soft, round, supple – full of air, and light; escaping the mouth as though to a lover – curvaceous, lush, full of love. Try it :) say it out loud (Des-poh-hahn-doh) and feel how it escapes, how it releases from your tongue.
There is life in language, in the way that words resonate inside of us, and for me, when I came upon this word, it made me look at the way the sound of this word (and its meaning) made me feel. Open. Softer. More beautiful. And…lighter. Instead of “letting go” being an act that needed to be worked at, it suddenly felt like it could be an allowance. Something that we might simply nod our head at, and set free on the rush of our breath.
Forgiveness is, for me, the single most persistent theme in my work as a writer of literary fiction. It is an idea, an act, an experience that I have questioned, discussed, turned around and around inside of me for over 2 decades now, and I find it…well, I suppose I find it to be the most necessary aspect of all humanity for a truly extraordinary and wonderful life. For in truth, forgiveness precipitates all else.
Here are a couple poignant examples of forgiveness that I highly recommend you explore, if you have not yet: Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. Reading this was a lightbulb moment for me when I was in my early 20’s. I found Frankl’s life, and life experiences (survivor of the Holocaust) to be profoundly life opening. Despite everything he experienced during the horrors of that time, he allowed with purpose and great intention, for forgiveness. The other I just listened to last night on RadioLab – the brilliant radio show that if you don’t know of, you must check out!, because the fellows who create the hour long shows are curious about everything, and willing to explore anything. The show I listened to was called Blame, and the story in particular was the 2nd segment about a father who becomes a pen-pal to the imprisoned man who murdered his daughter. It’s a powerful and beautiful show, lyrical even, in it’s tone and complexity.
What I mean to offer with these examples, with this post as a whole, I suppose, is this: I have often wondered if we are sometimes afraid to forgive, to let go, because of the way it might make us appear, to others, to ourselves, as weak somehow? Or that it might make us look as if we condone the acts that are in need of forgiving? Perhaps there is validity in both of these suppositions – but, I think the single most important and necessary question we should begin to ask ourselves when it comes to whether or not to forgive, is this: What is the personal price of not forgiving? We lock ourselves in and close ourselves off, and not just to others, but most importantly, to ourselves. And this is, of course, the very opposite of…
May this year of 2014 be Our Year of Forgiveness. Toward those who hurt us. Toward ourselves for deeds past. Toward politicians :) Let Forgiveness be our daily embrace, our active committed pursuit…and like everything else in life, our choice.