“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”. – Ephesians 4:31-32.
I’ve recently moved to a new town. Well, I say new town, it’s really a place that I’ve known all along. Its a place where my surname is as popular as “Jones” is in Llandudno, and where most seem to mistake me for someone else better known. Moreover, it’s a place I’ve felt most at home. Where I felt as though I belonged, with toes in red-sand, HERE more than any other place on this planet.
It is a place which holds so much importance to me. However, I could never shake the lurking sense of inferiority whenever I walked its streets or broke bread with its people. A place filled with stories of triumph through struggle. A place where people know how to be people. A place that is so vast and empty yet is filled to the brim with history and potential alike. It is for me at least, the topographical, sociological and anthropological meeting of “Chaos”, “Order” and “Opportunity”. A place locked in extraordinary mystique and spiritual importance to me, so much so that in the 18 years since my Dad’s passing. I’ve only been here about 6 or 7 times. Seems a bit paradoxical doesn’t it. Simply put, it’s my Dad’s hometown. Although through all this admiration of space and time, I actually have no true knowledge of it. Then it struck me that I’ve been naive and immature in my need to keep it unblemished.
To appreciate and love something so much that you do not wish to alter your perception of it. So you simply keep it in stasis. By being careful to not disturb the perceived reality of the moment, therefore never really engaging in it. Much like how a collector will admire a toy. They gaze upon it, maybe even lust after it. But NEVER do they nor should you open the box! NEVER truly engaging or allowing others to either. By doing this we wholeheartedly assure ourselves that by not engaging, we can therefore never taint it. Or rather we do not have to go through the trouble of reimagining a new reality where it has been affected by the atmosphere around it. Because of the very moment in which we begin to engage in it, we find new areas of intrigue and desire. But we also notice other areas of imperfection and dislike.
In many ways when one is in conflict with others or self. Or more aptly, when we are states of “Chaos”, we are paralyzed by its very existence. Unable to move forward due to our trauma. Or worse, we overly indulge and enjoy the “Chaos” especially if it has been created as a result of someone else’s behaviour. This type of “Chaos” we enjoy milking. Playing our “offended” card or maintaining our status as “victim”.
Do not get me wrong, if someone or something has aggrieved, or is aggrieving you. Take a pause and vociferate the existence of that pain. This is where the notion of vengeance is born from. Through our pain, we reduce ourselves to our most base instincts. Our animalistic instinct to attack as a form of defence. We set about on a journey with the sole aim of hurting those that hurt us, in such a manner so that they may see and feel similar painful emotions. In truth, we revel in their suffering in order to alleviate our own.
Maybe even being so ardent that we are privileged to be around when their very existence is obliterated. We visualise this experience with such intensity, it’s a blue wonder as to why we have not made the “Purge” a reality. It is this desire to see others laid low, as we are, which creates a helpful distraction and a necessary fire to fuel our daily desire just to get out of bed. Revenge can be a wonderful motivator, however, it’s a flame which burns bright and hot but only for a short while. When we fill our daily desire with revenge as its only substance, we consistently will find ourselves short of fire. Thus, we need to consistently fan fickle flames with whatever is around us. Paying no mind as to what we throw onto those flames. It is the act of burning your house down, just to keep warm. Eventually, we are so drained from stoking our flames that we have lost all sense and rationale as to who, what and why we feel so embittered and resentful.
In religion, there is divinity in caring for those around you, no matter your misgivings of them. Across many of the known denominations, forgiveness sits as a central axiom in living righteously. It is the recognition not only of ourselves as versions of the higher power which we believe is within us. More importantly, it is that recognition that everyone around, especially those who have wronged us, also has this higher power within them.
Once we approach life from the standpoint that forgiveness is ours to receive, we begin to understand that we have a reciprocal duty to extend this mercy to others. By actively and truthfully forgiving, we regain so much strength lost during our period of trauma. This may seem senseless, however, a flame of forgiveness burns everlastingly. It is such a natural flame which provides more than sufficient warmth to power our life’s mission and purpose. I am of the opinion that once you forgive and let go, you begin to claw back eternal strength which will outlive and outlast the scenario’s in which we felt wronged or taken undue advantage of. I speak optimistically here, but I pray and hope that today we all can forgive and let go of the misgivings around us. Thereby giving us eternal sustenance to continue to move and look forward.