For the past 6-ish weeks, I’ve been engaged in an experiment known as Get It Done Lab, the brain child of Samantha Bennett and her team.
First… the punch line. I have, in fact, been getting a whole lot of “it” done!
Next… a bit more of the story.
As part of our adventure, Sam has been sending out daily emails. Super quick. Pointed, even. And they all begin with the same two words…
If you’ve been reading along for a bit, you’ve probably already guessed that this is an approach that really works for me!
Day 40’s email said this:
What if…. you forgave everyone everything?
What if, indeed?
But, for many of us, there’s another obvious question… How?
If we’re being real, forgiving can be really hard. And that sentence led me on the proverbial rabbit trail – figuratively, at least – to the endless bookshelves in our basement.
(Okay, with a bit of help from Google, I found what I needed to know in my phone and didn’t need to tackle the stairs!)
The book in question is titled, Is Human Forgiveness Possible? by Dr. John Patton.
John was one of my seminary professors. I read the book for a short course while I was doing my DMin. and serving a church in Virginia.
Here’s the gist of what I remember…
No, we can’t make ourselves feel forgiving.
We can choose – or intend, as I’d say these days – to allow forgiving to happen within us.
Which doesn’t make it any less a challenge!
Think about our world.
For me, it often feels overwhelming with the need for personal forgiveness – which is sometimes the easier part – to political forgiveness and ancestral forgiveness and… well, fill in what works for you.
Here’s what I do know…
Feeling forgiveness might just be connected to feeling thankful.
And symbolizing forgiveness often helps. (Think paintbrushes, or music, or…)
And forgiveness doesn’t mean putting up with whatever harm others might heap on us. It just means declining to harm ourselves further by holding onto hate.
At the risk of being redundant… it’s hard. Perhaps the hardest thing many of us will ever learn. And one of those things we probably need to learn over and over.
But, all that being said, what might we do with the energy it takes to hold grudges? To hate? To look back instead of forward?
I’m feeling blessed by a whole lot of teachers who’ve helped me learn – along a pretty complicated road – to intend forgiveness.
And by the possibility that I might just be one of those teachers for someone else.
For this moment, though, there is a Hearth to tend and an email to write and a big dog who needs to be brushed.
A big dog who, by the way, has taught me a whole lot about forgiveness.
And about being thankful for the kind folks in the world. Like you!
Blessings, from Phoebe and Luther and the Legendary Husband and me!
ps… should you be tempted to shop for creative gifts, I’d be thrilled if you’d wander through the updated FierceArtWithHeart shop and let me know what you think. There’s even a print of “Heart of Creation”! (The elves have decided that holiday discounts are in order and shipping is free in the USA!)
pps… Intentional Creativity® can help with the forgiving thing. There are new things on the horizon! email me if you’d like more information… email@example.com