“The lesson here is that there is no fix. There is, however, forgiveness. To forgive yourselves and others constantly is necessary. Not only is everyone screwed up, but everyone screws up.”
~Annie Lamott, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope.
My spiritual director the late Fr Claude Barreteau, MEP once told me a story about a man who repeatedly climbed a hill every week to arrive a small chapel where he made his confession to a priest. He felt bad that he had been doing so for such a long time, and seemed to make the same mistake. On the exterior, it looks like this person hasn’t learned.
But I suspect Fr Claude’s story speaks to the business of forgiveness, which is a daily affair.
Today, out of sheer frustration, I yelled at my daughter. She burst into tears. She was inconsolable. Maybe Mom would come and sooth her. I was rendered helpless. I chastised her for being rude in the first place. She cries even louder. Mom’s not coming.
Then, in exasperation and lack of ingenuity, I realised I scared her. I sat down on the floor and I said, “I’m sorry. I messed up. My loud voice must have scared you. I’m gonna try better again the next time…”
She stopped crying. She looked at me. I brought her close. Meanwhile, in my mind, I was resisting even ounce of my being to correct her faults. There’s another time for that.
For now, “will you forgive me” is enough.
We need to climb up that hill and come to our senses that “everyone is screwed up… and everyone screws up,” and come back down again.
See this video by Fred Rogers.
(If you can’t see the video above, click here.)