Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Book of Wonderful Moments

I hope this finds all of us after a fulfilling and introspective Yom Kippur, however you spent the last 25 hours.  I will always remember what one of my patients, a 90 year old Shoah Survivor once told me:  she said that life is never all bad or all good, and when we have that brief wonderful moment, we should cherish it, and hold onto that feeling of happiness.

At one point during the fast today, I was reading some inspirational writings from Fred McFeely Rogers - ie the beloved children's advocate Mr. Rogers - and came across an idea about forgiveness that spoke to me on this day.  And so I share his thoughts with you; please forgive me if I have caused you harm,  and  I wish that we all be sealed into the Book of Wonderful Moments:

Forgiving and forgetting are often paired together, but the one certainly doesn't necessarily follow the other. Some injuries, real or imagined, we may never be able to forget, even though we say we've forgiven them.  Other injuries we may never even be able to say that we forgive.  Those are the ones, it seems to me, most likely involve people we've loved, and so I'm inclided to look at what our experiences of forgiveness may have been like from the first people who loved us.

The first time we required forgiveness, we probably did something we shouldn't have when our closest grown-ups thought we should have known better. We made someone angry.  We were to blame. What did the first brush with blame begin to teach us?

If we were fortunate, we began to learn that "to err is human."  Even good people sometimes do bad things.  Errors might mean corrections, apologies, repairs, but they didn't mean that we, as a person, were a bad person in the sight of those we loved.  The second thing we learned (if we were fortunate) was that having someone we loved get mad at us did not mean that person had stopped loving us;  we had their unconditional love, and that meant we would have their forgiveness too.

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