I hold grudges. I hold grudges like I hold many other things – FOR. FREAKING. EVER. I’m not just a packrat with material items, okay? I hoard feelings, too. I try not to because it’s not a very good practice and it doesn’t make me a very becoming person (though it does serve its purpose sometimes).
Tonight I was reminded yet again how badly I suck at this whole forgiveness stuff. See, I am pretty involved in the internet and I know some people and I disagree with a few of them on things that matter and things that don’t matter. I feel better holding grudges against people who are truly deplorable douchebags, like rape apologists, racists, xenophobes, and bigots, but it always takes me a long time to realize that ugh, I do not need to sit around being grouchy about a fourteen-year-old who thinks I am being WAY TOO MEAN TO BARRY ZITO, who, incidentally, will never read about how much I don’t like him (unless he Googles himself and ends up here, in which case HI BARRY PLEASE GIVE ME REASONS TO LIKE YOU BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE NOT LIKING PEOPLE). I just need to suck it up, get over it, and move on. I need to FORGIVE THEM for calling me names and getting nasty about the whole situation. And I need to not be so nasty in return.
Forgiveness is hard, y’all. I know there are some Christians who read this blog and they’ll attest to the difficulty of forgiveness when you’re involved in the church. Let me be the first to tell you that it’s equally difficult outside the church. Like, I know a lot of Xians think that agnostic and atheists (especially atheists) are base creatures without a moral compass.
FALSE. We are not. We still have a relative set of morals most humans share, regardless of religion or belief system. Being nice to other people is one of those morals. And part of being nice to people is forgiveness. UGH IT IS SO HARD TO BE NICE TO OTHER PEOPLE ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE DUMB. But it’s important because that old saying about how hate and bitterness only ruin YOU is true.
What do you gain from holding a grudge against someone? Probably a tension headache and some indigestion. Maybe some heart trouble. Maybe a permanent bad mood. Whatever it is, it isn’t worth it. And I believe one of the basic principles of humanity is actually HUMANITY. Humane treatment of other human beings. How humane am I being to other human beings if I just sit around being pissed at them all the time and wishing they would (figuratively) drop off the face of the earth?
It’s a struggle, because one of my most strongly held beliefs is the belief that we all hold a valuable light within us. I borrowed this from the Quakers when I was trying to sort out my beliefs and religiosity many years ago, and it has become a guiding force in my life. Or at least I strive for it to be. Sometimes I fail miserably. Yes, even that jackass who cut me off in traffic has a light inside and that light is worthwhile. The universe has granted to each of us life. Everyone on the planet is loved, or should be loved. You know, someone loved Hitler. Someone loved Bin Laden. Someone loves you and someone loves me. Humanity. It’s a hell of a thing, isn’t it?
So when I began struggling with forgiveness as a concept I wanted to employ in my life more often, I also had to come to grips with the fact that LOVE went hand-in-hand with forgiveness. Love. Seeing another’s humanity. Finding some quality in them that is precious. Finding the light. Embracing the light. Encouraging the light (if I can). Forgiving them when they hurt me. Loving them when they do not behave appropriately.
There are a few people I need to forgive in the next few weeks, if for no other reason than to clear my mind of the things they’ve done that REALLY ANNOY ME TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH. Some of the things are insignificant. Some of them are not. The one thing I need to remember is that forgiving someone doesn’t mean I have to approve of their behavior. It doesn’t mean I condone it. It just mean I am choosing to move beyond the overwhelming negativity and help my own inner light grow a little stronger.