Something you have to forgive someone for.
I do not have to forgive the monster man but I can choose to. When someone sets out to cause such a deep hurt without any regard for the person whatsoever, why should it be down to me to forgive him? Because it is better for me? Because the broken-ness he inflicted might in itself be a product of his own broken-ness?
Some questions are totally beyond me. I can't fathom the depths of my own mind let alone his. Anyway it changes nothing. This was not something aimed at me as a person, I was just very unlucky to be one of the wrong children in the wrong place at that time. What's done is done.
What constitutes forgiveness? The man is dead. There is no restitution, there is no way I can know if he had any kind of contrition over his actions. So what purpose is there in my act of forgiving? I have read that there is healing in forgiveness and also that bitterness eats into your soul and destroys it. I'm not sure I believe that. I'm not sure I believe in souls either.
I look at Oliver and William now. I see the fragility behind their apparent robustness. I see how easy it would be to hurt them. It gladdens my heart every day that they have no real inkling of any threat to their well-being from the adults currently present in their young lives. I love that they are carefree in that way. It is a blessing. Children are ill equipped to defend themselves against those intent on harm.
My monster man was a boy once too. As defenceless as any child. I feel sad at the thought that maybe he was very badly hurt too. I can imagine that pain. At the same time it makes it easier for me to think that way ... I can almost understand how it might be then that he grew into someone capable of doing what he did.
In some ways I can see that I am more inclined to forgive purely on the basis of hurt done to him ... in other words conditional on his actions being attributable to some deep inner pain of his own. But what if there was a warp in his personality and absolutely no childhood trauma, what then? Well then forgiveness becomes an act of will, not something born of compassion. I find that harder to think through.
If someone has a personality defect are they any less responsible for their actions? Perhaps. It depends. Again these questions are beyond me. To answer them I must in effect act as judge and jury in an area in which I have no expertise whatsoever. And anyway, this can only ever lead towards conditional forgiveness. That just feels like cheating.
How do you forgive a dead man for something done years ago. I guess you make a choice to do so. Perhaps forgiveness is an act of letting go. Simply that. So yes, I forgive him.
I have sat here for ages looking at that last sentence and trying to find meaning in it. It wasn't easy to write. It hasn't been easy thinking this through. To be honest I don't feel that I know enough about what forgiveness means to be able to act on it yet. I might come back to this exercise later.
Thursday 13 on Saturday: Gratitude
11 hours ago