This is the fourth post in an unofficial series on forgiveness. I continually return to exploring forgiveness. I slip into old habits and I find this is a good way of returning to more peaceful choices. I also find the exploration, while reflective, is also refreshing.
I love signs and metaphors. They make me giggle and keep life light-hearted when sometimes it is not. I (Santa) gave this glass cleaner squeegee to my husband for Christmas. He gets really annoyed with a water-stained shower door. I actually got squeegee man because he made me laugh more than to solve the water on the glass issue of his. Squeegee man has become a funny metaphor for life in my mornings though.
He hangs at the bottom of the shower because the suction cup is too lame to hold him higher. In fact, when I place him higher he just slides slowly all the way back to the same spot toward the bottom of the glass. Sort of the way I feel when I realize I have to re-explore the topic of forgiveness. Like I need to start over again. So he is in the corner the shower quietly hanging on while a person showers. I say quietly because I envision that he would have a lot to say if he had a voice, like could you help me out here, it’s a long climb up there. I shower after my husband. Lately, he has been leaving squeegee man hanging by the feet. This seems really hopeless to me.
This is how forgiveness can also seem to me. First, it is, in fact, the same job every day to choose forgiveness. Second, I certainly can’t do it alone. It takes courage, yes, but in the beginning, it also takes my friends encouraging me and reminding me and lifting me up so I will be set free of the anger. Then, when I am really really angry and resisting that choice, dangling by my feet someone comes along and pushes me to do it a different way. But when I am upside down barely hanging on it seems like such a huge wasted effort to choose anything other than being mad. And if I am being really honest sometimes it feels really good to be mad but not to be hanging by my feet.
I notice squeegee man’s hopeless position the second I stepped in the shower and instantly flipped him upside right. I couldn’t leave him dangling I tell myself. I did this a few days in a row thinking my husband would notice but there he was the next day hanging by the feet again. After a while, I took a picture and texted it to my husband mentioning that up right squeegee man was in a much more hopeful position hanging by his arms, not his legs. Of course, knowing me, my husband got a great laugh.
The thing is, sometimes we are hanging on by a thread and don’t want to move through anger to forgiveness. I totally understand that. But anger only stifles our own lives – I know it does for me. So we owe it to ourselves to let someone come along and turn us upside right again. I am reading The Book of Joy by the His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, they make two important points on forgiveness. 1. Without acceptance, we can’t forgive. “The ability to be present in each moment is nothing more and nothing less than the ability to accept the vulnerability, discomfort, and anxiety of everyday life.” and 2. There is a difference between forgiveness and allowing wrong-doing. “This is where the power of forgiveness lies – not losing sight of the humanity of the person while responding to the wrong with clarity and firmness.”
I’m not suggesting this is easy. Is there someone in your life that can grab you by the feet and help you upright? Do you want to get off the daily climb up a wall with a bad suction cup? I do. Join me on this journey. Together we can remind each other of the freedom we feel liberated from anger.