Forgiveness. Simultaneously the simplest and yet most daunting task. All that’s required is to wriggle out of the chain that we allow to keep strangling ourselves. And then to remain chain-free. We silently hope that this chain is also strangling those who caused us hurt too; that as it pulls tighter, they too feel the pain. But, most often it is just us who walk around in varying degrees of suffocation.
And so before we can even contemplate forgiving another, we need to forgive ourselves. For if we love ourselves we will not choose to punish ourselves for other’s mistakes (and also for our own that we regret); we will instead let go of the old and set ourselves free. Once we do this, perhaps forgiveness to another will come naturally.
Rabbi Simon Jacobson in his book “60 Days” speaks on the subject beautifully: “The word for “forgiveness” in Hebrew – mechilah – is related to the word machol meaning “circle”. Life is meant to be a circle encompassing all our experiences and relationships in one harmonious, seamless whole. When someone hurts us, the circle is broken. Forgiveness is the way we mend the fracture. Forgiveness means not only forgiving the person who hurt us, but forgiving ourselves, forgiving G-d, forgiving even life itself with all its bizarre and often cruel twists and turns. When you forgive, the circle is again complete and you find yourself encompassed by the wholeness of G-d’s creation of which you are an integral part.”
May we all have the strength and courage to mend and repair what’s broken, to march forward into the present and dwell in a whole circle.