The Heart is the Space where there is no judgment … the Heart carries no pain from the past and no fear of the future. The Heart – where the light of Spirit comes into the body – is always whole, free, and filled with gratitude for each moment. Forgiveness is a way of finding this innermost Heart and releasing whatever blocks our awareness of its light and love and joy. Forgiveness is a way of remembering who we really are … and in that remembrance we find each other.
It’s a Saturday afternoon, and we sit around a long table with multi-colored beads in bowls before us. Our hands are busy threading the beads into malas—and our thoughts are focused on healing. Never before has this particular group of fourteen women and one young boy been together, yet when the talking stick is passed around the table, each one speaks from a deeply personal place, a wise place, about forgiveness . . . and about how to let its grace free us from what burdens us.
Silently, I wait for my turn at the altar. And when it comes, I walk up to the candles and flowers and the large, midnight blue pottery bowl full of water. Months of planning and praying have led up to this moment. I look down at the slip of paper in my hand—the little slip that symbolizes everything I want to release, all my judgements, resentments, egotisms—and smile.
So okay, God, here we go again! We both know I’m going to screw up again. You know it, I know it. I guess I’m just okay with that fact now. And I think you are, too. Maybe you’ve always been okay with it, maybe just curious as to when I would be . . .
Still smiling, I drop the rice paper in the bowl and watch it dissolve. Love floods through me. And I walk away feeling like God and I just shared a really good joke.
Earlier that evening: So many people from different times of my life, from different sacred circles, come through the door. Strong, wise words about forgiveness are shared from people who’ve definitely earned the right to say them. The music—Ronnie’s beautiful voice, Bo’s harmonies—washes over me. A young man with clear eyes looks into me and I am forgiven. I hold hands with an old friend and bask in a shared history of loving. I rest my head on my husband’s shoulder and weep at my good fortune to be with someone so kind.
So yes. I will float away from here and drink from its peace for days . . . and then it will fade away as so many other evenings have in these many decades of practice, community, ceremony. Much of tonight will be forgotten. But somewhere in eternity, I will pause often and see that twinkle in God’s eye again. And smile.
Forgiveness is a way of remembering each other . . .
and in that remembrance, we find ourselves.