I am starting to disbelieve all the narratives I hear about forgiveness, for they just don’t sit right with me. They feel distorted, or at best incomplete when they focus on “releasing” the other person. I am starting to believe that is not forgiveness proper, but the effect of forgiveness. Like the release of breath is the consequence of the inhalation of air. You give carbon dioxide because you have satisfied your need for the inhaled oxygen. But the exhalation (forgiveness) is at second cause, an effect of something else. A resulting dispensation of something that has inwardly run its course to inner enrichment.
Furthermore, I don’t think you can apprehend forgiveness without understanding a grudge, for they go hand in hand, much like day goes with night. If you think about it that way, it means a person might believe they are noble and good, because they feel content. They live in the apparent “light” regions of their soul in times of prosperity. But often we are ignorant of the dark and evil tendencies within, of our fickleness and pettiness. So it could be that hardships, suffering, adversity, and even horrors come our way to help expose the “night” that exists in the soul. The more prone we then are to bitterness, anger and grudges, the darker are the exposed corners of the soul we did not see. And so, the challenges come to expose these regions to show where within us desperately needs to be illuminated by light.
It is like looking at the earth. One side is light, but another is dark. It is not until the earth rotates and moves that light enters the dark corners. In the same way, hardships compel us to move, to grapple with something, to enter unexplored regions, to contend with the hidden darkness of which we were ignorant, so that the sunlight of virtue might shine upon, sanitize, and thus purify those hidden corners within.
Even when you think about it, people often say of other who regularly exhibit a profundity of thought: “wow, they are so deep”. But what they fail to understand is that “deepness” necessitates entering unknown regions where there is often an absence of light. In life this sometimes manifests as pain, difficulty, and trials that force us into uncharted territory. We experience the coldness in these regions as discomfort and grief. But like any new territory there are treasures and resources hidden underground. Only when a person undergoes the painstaking process of finding it, cultivating it, and resurrecting to light do they become rich. After such storms of the soul, when a person has been sunk to the “depths” of turmoil and discovered wisdom there, the onlooker will just passingly say… “they are so deep”, as if it was an easy endowment that came overnight. Not realizing the fierce storms of inner trials they had to experience just to gain the nuggets of insights that make them “deep”. Point is, if we are not willing to explore the darkness in our heart and courageously shine light there, we cannot be deep. For it is often in that deepness that growth happens.
In closing, I want to emphasize that, contrary to my usual approach, this was more of an exploratory essay and less of an explanatory one. A stream of consciousness of the interconnected concepts of forgiveness, grudges, and “deepness”. Though I have more detailed and precise thoughts on the matter, this format is intentional, and is intended to induce personal reflection on the aforementioned themes.
~Ikenna Q Ezealah