“Everything that is tough and brittle shatters; everything that is cynical rots. The only way to endure is to forgive, over and over, to give back that openness and possibility for new beginning which is the very essence of love itself.” -Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault
I was a tough addict. I knew I could conquer this issue. I would go weeks and months without using. Yet the result was always the same: I relapsed. I shattered. My world shattered.
During my Roman Catholic upbringing, forgiveness was part of a ceremony. We called it confession. Bless me father. Here’s my stuff. There was a penance or a price, and forgiveness. This practice never brought me to my knees. I had to exhaust all of my resources. I had to empty my tool bag. I was so self sufficient I did not recognize that there was a resource outside of myself. Wow! Denial is a self imposed prison.
I lived a life closed to the possibility of another way, a better way, a joy filled way. The 12 Step Program introduced me to something ‘greater than myself’. But I was still tough. These other people needed the 12 Steps, but not me. So for 10 years, I went to meetings but continued to rely on myself. I preferred my own prison to the possibility of freedom.
In retrospect, it is obvious that I began to build relationships. As these relationships grew, accountability became a necessary fact of life. My Higher Power took on skin. My Higher Power took on the faces of dozens of people who loved me enough to forgive me, over and over and over again. There came a point that I realized that if all these people could forgive me, perhaps I could forgive myself, one lie at a time, one day at a time, over and over and over again.
My soul developed a crack, then a small hole which grew to a state openness to the possibility of the beginning of a new life style. Sobriety became a possibility. Forgiveness transformed my practice of love.
The form of love changed.
The object of love changed.
The world around me changed.
I began to appreciate the words of Mahatma Ghandhi: The weak never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
The strength of those around be became the source of my own strength.
We are a source of strength to each other. This is a simple fact of life. Your strength, your serenity, your courage, your wisdom are the source of my virtue. We do this. We grow the essence of love. We perpetuate the hope of sustained sobriety. We perpetuate hope!
Please continue to love me with your forgiveness, over and over and over. I will continue to forgive myself over and over and over. We will continue to be the force of forgiveness in this world of divisiveness. We will offer the hope of the fullness of joy. We will perpetuate the possibilities for the new beginnings which are the very essence of love and life itself.
These efforts will bring us to the restful waters in the midst of the chaos of life.
See you there.