Forgiveness

I came across a YouTube video today about forgiveness and letting go of fear and anger. To let go of fear is to be free and to forgive and forget is to release you from the power of the person who hurt you.

I thought about that. What do I fear? Who have I not forgiven?

While I am a chicken, with all the character flaws that entails, I do forgive and forget quickly, the consequence of having a small brain. One person I have not forgiven is Donald Trump. It bugs me that he’s our president. He doesn’t deserve it, he didn’t earn it and the audacity of the guy to think that he’s more qualified than Hilary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bernie Sanders or Barney the Dinosaur, for that matter, to lead this country, just chaps my ass. It will take years for the USA to regain the respect it’s lost with him at the helm. How can our allies trust us to make good choices in the future? Will they ever forgive us for this choice? Which countries now see us as vulnerable? You wouldn’t think that one person could do so much damage in less than a year’s time yet here we are.

What’s more disturbing to me is that my anger with him has led to a pervasive mistrust of men in general. There are exceptions, of course-the men I associate with regularly here and in “real” life and some who have taken a stand against this presidency. It’s more the collective unknown male species that I’m distrustful of and I realize that’s not particularly fair. I am sorry to the good men out there. This isn’t meant to be a male bashing post. I have two sons and a good husband. I would hate to hear of anyone mistrusting them because of their sex. I’m trying to work my way through these feelings. And yet, I’m just so sick of wars that accomplish nothing but endless misery. I’m sick of gun violence. I’m particularly sick of patriarchy and of how religion is leveraged as a justification for repression and violence.

It all comes down to fear, doesn’t it? The Steve Bannons and David Dukes of the world are afraid that Muslims and people of color might take over so they rant about religious war and Christianity. The Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzadas of the world fear the opposite so they rant about Allah. And they all fear women, right? The tools employed to subdue half the population include sex, shame, violence, lack of education and lack of basic freedoms, but no tool has been used as successfully as religion to convince women that feminine submission is all part of the plan. No wonder they cling to religion. Without it, a lot more women would ask “Who are YOU to hold me back?”. I believe I am not alone with my feelings. I hear it in conversation; I read it in blog posts and articles, and I notice it as a theme in movies and books. There’s a tsunami of grievance sweeping the country; #metoo is not an isolated trend. It’s an outcome of a larger movement. It’s a clear sign that women have had it with patriarchy and with the violence it embraces.

Maybe that’s how I can, not now, but eventually, forgive Donald Trump. His election woke up a lot of us and made us angry. Anger may be his only legacy. Maybe it’s the catalyst that will bring change. Maybe, after he’s safely out of the way and in a home somewhere getting the care he badly needs, I can forgive. And then, maybe, I can work on all the fears that keep me up at night.

Chicken out

 

 

  11 comments for “Forgiveness

  1. Bella Rum
    November 6, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I think fear and anxiety have increased through out the world since last November. It’s a scary world, and a scary guy is at the helm.

    I, too, tend to move on quickly after I’ve been wronged. I can’t seem to maintain anger for people who’ve left my sphere. However, if they are still poking me in the eye with a stick, I stay pretty roiled up, and do not forgive until they stop it. To do otherwise is to be foolish. Anger motivates us to get out of bad situations, but to carry anger is a big burden, and it changes who you are and what your life is. It’s hard to be angry and happy at the same time. I am so glad that I can move on and leave hurts behind. I’ve seen people who cannot, and it can ruin a life.

    I hope we can forgive Donald Trump when he leaves office, but something tells me he will continue to poke us in the eye with a stick.

    It is a sad state of affairs that it is 2017, and women have only recently received the right to drive a car in Saudi Arabia. Much work to be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 6, 2017 at 11:45 pm

      Hi Bella Rum, it’s helpful that you framed anger in a more positive way. Thank you. I agree-he’ll keep poking if he can.

      Like

    • January 20, 2018 at 12:28 am

      Hi Bella Rum-just wondering where you went. Do you have a new blog? Respond and I won’t approve it so it won’t show here but I’ll know.

      Like

  2. jenny_o
    November 6, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    I admire you for being able to move on with forgiveness. It is not one of my strengths. The only thing that has helped me in that regard is a book I read years ago. The author explained that most people are doing their best with the knowledge they have at the time of the incident(s) requiring forgiveness. That was an eye-opener for me. Not everyone grows up with parents who teach their kids to have a moral compass. Not everyone has the necessary emotional intelligence to grasp the concept of empathy. Not everyone is treated well as they are growing up and they may have a lot of internal hurt that causes them to not care about other people’s feelings. Etc. It is very hard to apply this to Trump or anyone else a position of power who is willy-nilly treating people unfairly, though. And I’m not sure forgiveness is the thing that is needed, to be honest. Speaking up and working for change seem the more productive course of action to me. Once things change, maybe there is a place for forgiveness, if only to prevent corrosion in our own souls.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 6, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      I agree with everything that book said and also with you. Maybe later I can find some sympathy for the guy. Once he’s no longer in a position to start WWIII. If that happens we probably won’t need to worry about forgiveness-none of us will be here.

      Like

  3. Doug in Oakland
    November 6, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    I once had a conversation with Briana on the subject of revenge. It went like this:
    Me: JT says that living well is your best revenge.
    Briana: Living well AND revenge is your best revenge.
    Me: How about living so well that the idea of revenge makes you laugh so hard you can’t breathe and almost pass out.
    Briana: I’ll have to think about that one…

    There certainly are a lot of men who understand this and do try to make it better, so nothing as simple as sex can identify where the problems lie, but there are a few things we should accept and try to do something about.

    Like how mass shootings and domestic violence seem to go hand in hand. They have tried to make the Texas shooting about politics since before the bodies were cold, but it turns out that the shooter (I refuse to use his name) was in an “ongoing domestic dispute” with his mother in law, who attended the church.
    So perhaps we have more of a “men who shoot up their families and everyone around them” problem. The numbers on this are staggering, but the CDC is still prohibited from studying it. That’s when I start getting angry.

    It’s difficult sometimes to apply what I know to my own attitudes. I’m not that likely to forgive Donald Trump, mostly because of all the things he has done that he doesn’t even realize he’s done.
    Call it a loophole, but how can I forgive him for things he’s not even aware of?
    Things like all of the dread, anxiety, and lost sleep that millions of mothers have endured in the limbo of not knowing whether their children will have access to medical care if they need it. All of the parents of autistic children who have fought the system to a workable standstill in which their child has most of what they need to grow up functional, and are now staring down the barrel of budget cuts that will wipe away all of the hard fought gains they have made.
    I could go on.
    One of my favorite political bloggers, Blue Gal, calls it legislative terrorism, as she has all of that and more to deal with concerning her three children.
    Perhaps I can boil it down to The Who: “Let’s forget you better still”, but even that has to wait for the time after he’s gone.
    In the mean time, I’m leaning hard on music to stay sane, or as close to sane as I’m likely to get.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. November 6, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Hi Doug-is this latest one the one that will finally break the camel’s back? It feels different. I hope something changes. It’s not looking that way. Do you follow Mike’s blog? Genial Misanthrope? He wrote a good post today about his frustration with the rising number of mass shootings. I like your suggestion that it would feel better to forget him than to forgive him. I think there’s a few of them that it would be good to forget rather than forgive. More than a few.

    Like

  5. November 7, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Much of forgiveness consists of self-compassion. If we reject erroneous teachings and align ourselves against injustice, it is painful –as a man, I know– but necessary. I have raised a daughter to make her way in the world and she has done so. She has also found love and strength in combination with her spouse. From this foundation, opportunity opens. She works and thrives in her craft and art, as does he. What we need in government, school and personal relationships is rationalism. Politics –yes, ahead of religion– must be piloted by reason. The rest will follow, family by family.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. November 8, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Your words echo my thoughts exactly. Every single one.

    Like

  7. November 8, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Paulette-I knew that I was not alone:-)

    Like

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