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Beginning to Forgive

I lit candles. I lit candles for the children we lost. I lit candles for the adults who gave the ­ultimate price to save those they could. I lit a candle for the mother who was not immune to her son’s wrath. And, I lit a candle for the man who felt he had to do such a heinous and senseless act of violence before turning that wrath on himself. I lit because it was about beginning to forgive.

It was not easy to light the candles for the innocent. The tears flowed effortlessly. I let them. I can’t imagine the horror they faced. I stopped when it was time to light the candle for the slayer of the innocent. I almost could not. But, I knew how important it was for myself to do so. I knew it was about beginning to forgive. And, yes, forgiveness is about yourself. It is not about others.

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    It would be easy to keep the anger. It would be easy to fester all the resentment      toward this individual, toward the circumstances of the crime. It would be easy. But, the easy road is not the one that serves me or us at all. Forgiveness is to cease to feel the resentment against something.

      I needed to be bigger than my anger and so, I took the hard road. I crumbled as I lit this last candle. It’s in the letting go of the anger, the resentment, the bitterness that forgiveness, compassion and love can grow.

 

That is why forgiveness is about YOU. And, after all is said and done, isn’t this what the world needs from you now more than ever is love and compassion?????

I never was a big forgiver as a child or young adult. It does not come naturally for me. So, like anything that does not come naturally, I have needed to learn and acquire the art and skill of forgiveness.

Here are three quick and easy steps to start the process of forgiving in your life. Beginning to forgive may be hard for you right now, begin with the easier things that need to be forgiven:

1. Identify the person you’re angry with. And don’t go for the big one first you can go to those people later. (I started learning this back when my first dog chewed everything in site!)

2. Honestly address your feelings. Talk to those who will listen. Not to those who will engage your anger but to those who will simply be there for you and listen. Journal your emotions. Put them down on paper…allow the tears to flow Create Art a song, a poem, a picture to depict your feelings.

3. Begin forgiving. Hold this person in your mind and ask yourself “What about him/her do I need to have compassion for” There’s a great meditation you can do whereby you look at this person when they are a young child or a baby and see how your compassion can help them. Reach (and sometimes this is so hard) for your compassion for that person’s limitations or blindness.

We have a right to be angry. We have a right to be bitter. But, we do not have a right to hold onto that resentment. By holding this love and compassion can not grow. In this holding of emotions, we serve no one well. And, beginning to Forgive is the start of releasing the anger and embracing the love.

Robbie Parker, the father of one of the children said it so eloquently when he said  “do not let these events to turn into something that defines us but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble people. Let the sentiments of love and the compassion we feel for others stay with us at all times.”

So, to do so, we must all start with forgiveness.  Small steps if need be. In this, love and compassion will flow. And, what better way than this to support families like the Parker Family and to do honor to the memories of the angels we lost.

Are you ready to forgive? How do you start that process for yourself?

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14 Comments »

  1. Hi Laura.

    Thanks for this great article. What is it they say…’To err is human, to forgive, divine’?.

    I too often find it difficult to forgive, and I was in tears what I watched Robert Parker say those words.

    On the whole, I could say that I’m getting better, but there are certain people from my past, whom I still can’t yet forgive. But I believe that in the passing of time, this will come naturally…in the meantime, I will continue to move on and bring my gifts and value to the world.

    [Reply]

    Laura Clark Reply:

    Yes, Sarada! One of the messages I’ve received from this most horrific event that it is time to shine on the world whatever it is that we are meant to shine. I believe that embracing what we are meant to offer and give fully and by accepting that from others with open arms, our spirits will rise high and only love and light will shine. I believe this with every breath. As I said, start with forgiving those things that are seemingly ‘easier’ for you to forgive…it is a skill to be developed and, like you, I am still working on a few things in my life that need extra special forgiveness skills!!! 😉 and Shine Your Gifts!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sarada Chaudhuri — December 17, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  2. I was just responding to another blog post about this tragic event. All I could write was: Everything, everything is an invitation to Love. What more appropriate response could there be? But first, as you so wisely point out, we need to move through our anger and even our pathetic attempts to understand tragedies such as these. I’ll never understand. But I can forgive. And I can Love. And I can ask myself to do what I can to expand my capacity to allow more and more and more Love.

    [Reply]

    Laura Clark Reply:

    Nancy ~ yes, understanding is not going to come no matter how wise anyone is. There will be an un~traditional line of dealing with this amazing grief we all have that must have forgiveness in it and love. And, yes, it is our obligation to allow more and more forgiveness from us to expand that love within us. Blessings to you!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Nancy Tierney — December 17, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  3. Thank you, Laura, for bringing us to the land of love and forgiveness at the time when it is so difficult to do so. I so much believe that this is the way to make our society more humane and never to see anything like this any more.

    [Reply]

    Laura Clark Reply:

    You are Welcome, Maria. It is such a difficult and yet, necessary, step to do. Blessings.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Maria Nikolaeva Angelova — December 17, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  4. Thanks for this post. Forgiveness is truly an art and skill. It doesn’t come easily for some of us. After truly learning that forgiveness is for me, I was able to embrace it much more. Thanks for the insights.

    [Reply]

    Laura Clark Reply:

    You are so right, Lori, forgiveness doesn’t come easy for so many of us. And, too, there are times when those of use who have worked on the skill of forgiveness still struggle with it. So many people don’t realize that it can be cathartic for themselves. I’m glad you are able to embrace it with greater ease now!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Lori Manns — December 19, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

  5. Laura this is such a powerful post. Forgiveness is probably the toughest yet most healing thing we can do. I also know how not forgiving drains our energy and pulls us down. As tough as it is, even in this horrific situation, it is essential for our sanity. Thank you for speaking the truth.

    [Reply]

    Laura Clark Reply:

    Laurie….it is one of the most Energy UP things you can do for yourself, this forgiveness ‘thing’. And, it is tough ever so tough when we think of those little angels and their guardians. Tough but essential.I was listening to a minister after I wrote this. He said suffering is part of the human condition but it is in the forgiveness that the suffering lessens. Our deepest wisdom knows this to be true. We must simply allow ourselves the Gift of Forgiveness right now. It’s the greatest Christmas gift of all.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Laurie Erdman | Chronic Wellness Coach — December 19, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  6. Laura, well said! Forgiveness is all about you…and it isn’t condoning the act or not holding someone responsible for their acts.
    I read the book Radical Forgiveness many years ago and it changed my life.

    [Reply]

    Laura Clark Reply:

    Thanks Lilia….and you are so right so many people think ‘to forgive’ means ‘to accept’ and that is not at all what it is about.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Lilia Lee — December 20, 2012 @ 8:35 am

  7. Laura, you write beautifully and full of grace. It’s been a difficult week. We live about 1/2 an hour from Newtown and have some indirect connections to people who were killed. My daughter is also 5 and it hurts too much to think too deeply into what the children must have seen/felt and what the parents are going through now. That being said, forgiveness IS absolutely needed. Timing is personal and so how we choose to heal. I have my forgiveness ritual that I need to do…but I can’t do it now. It hurts too much. I will do it one day soon. All I can manage right now is to send them love. I hope that is enough for now. Thank you for this post. Janet

    [Reply]

    Laura Clark Reply:

    You are right, Janet. Timing is personal. Being open is the first step in that forgiveness…..as I said, choose something small and, if you forgive on a regular basis, maybe choosing something small in relationship to the tragedy might help that opening. I have been really delving into it and at one particularly difficult angry time, I even chose to forgive the media! Hugs to you and your 5 year old

    [Reply]

    Comment by Janet — December 21, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

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