Monday, November 19, 2007

Forgiveness is the Fragrance

...that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. Mark Twain said that. It's corny but it's cool.

One of the most interesting to me thing about relationships with both friends and lovers is what happens to them over time. Some of them just fade out after they've run their course, and then other ones deepen and become much richer and more valuable because of the shared history and understanding between two people.

Someone I am very close to fucked up majorly this weekend, shoved a microphone right into an old wound that runs very deep and touches all kinds of childhood crap and caused all kinds of major drama and breakups in our lives in the past. I was stunned, and felt really hurt that we had to go there.

But something shifted in me fairly quickly afterwards. My past reaction to this particular issue has complete explosions of rage, complete with lots of shouting and the occasional smashing of glass, but time and distance have mellowed things enough that I am able to see a little more objectively and not just freak out reactively.

I got a call from this person immediately afterwards and his voice was so close to tears and he was so genuinely sad and sorry for the fuck-up that any anger that I had been feeling drained away immediately. I realized that all this time and all the fights of the past were mostly about me just wanting to be heard and understood on this issue. And that finally happened, like a tiny miracle. And only time could bring us to a place of real understanding and peace (or as peaceful as life can be with someone like me).

I love that this can happen with people. That human beings can love each other enough to forgive the imperfections and missteps and remain solidly there for one another through the years. What someone looks like or does for a living or wears fades away and they are left simply living in your heart, a part of who you are. In my mind this is the real beauty of being human.

And then of course right afterwards I fucked up in a similar way with Drew. I really was a total asshole and the irony of the night was not lost on me. I pushed right into someone else's primal space and caused pain to the one person who always goes out of his way to make sure I am comfortable and happy and certainly deserves nothing less than complete respect and kindness from me. He was really angry for solid reasons and I had no leg to stand on as far as excuses. I was just rotten for a few minutes. Maybe because the night was long and already fraught with emotion, or maybe just because sometimes I behave like an idiot.

In any case, he eventually forgave me, as he always does, with infinite patience and a sarcastic sense of humor. I am as always, incredibly lucky. But that doesn't alter the fact that he still suffered from unnecessary damage that I inflicted. I fear there may be punishments in store that I dare not speak of for losing the family audience.

It's interesting to me that we all yearn to be loved for who we really are, and yet are so afraid to show our true selves for fear of rejection that we often reject people who get too close or choose people who will reject us. We keep everyone at arm's length and we never grind down to the truth of what really moves us, makes us afraid, motivates us. At least that's what I've done much of my life.

Now that I am more of an adult I'm better equipped to choose quality people who can "handle it", and I am less afraid of appearing imperfect or wrong. I am also slowly becoming softer and easier to deal with because I'm not as quick to react to other's imperfections as I get easier on myself about mine. It's such a relief to be able to just say, "I was wrong, I'm sorry", just as it's a relief to hear it from others.

Forgiveness is a gift to ourselves as much as it is to the person who has wronged us. It's so simple, and so completely complicated.

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