“We are here to learn Forgiveness”

In a piece published in Salon, Anne Lamott writes: “I really believe that earth is forgiveness school…. I think we’re here to learn forgiveness.”

In “Entries”, the book of poems by Wendell Berry, we read the writer, and environmental activist, describe his mother as someone who

foresaw the worst

that I might do,

causing me to smile now, looking back,

to see how paltry was my worst,

compared to your forgiveness of it

John Lewis, the American statesman, tells us (“Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change”) that we would do well to “release the need to hate….and the enticement of revenge.”

“Release all bitterness,” writes this remarkable Black Elder, whose skull was fractured by police (and vigilantes) during a nonviolent Civil Rights protest in 1965. “Hold only love, only peace in your heart” and live with “forgiveness and compassion”. This we must do so because “every positive thought we pass between us makes room for more light.

In “The Hiding Place”, Corrie ten Boom writes of her family who helped shelter Jews in Holland as World War II broke out, about being imprisoned with her sister, Betsie (who passed on in a concentration camp), and much more. When a state of war was declared, and German planes started attacks on Holland, Corrie writes that she and Bestie knelt to pray.

For what seems hours we prayed for our country, for the dead and the injured tonight, for the Queen. And then, incredibly, Betsie began to pray for the Germans, up there in the planes….I looked at my sister kneeling beside me in the light of burning Holland. “Oh Lord,” I whispered, “listen to Betsie, not me, because I cannot pray for those men at all.”

Every time i read this passage, i am wordless….much like when i look at the sky.

Photograph by Shreya Dutta — late evening sky, Kolkata, India

Peace 🙂