Hours into my breather I found myself relaxing deeply, feeling responsibility float away. Watering my little garden from the patio felt like an offering instead of a chore. Time was mine to closely examine under leaves for ripe fruit, to notice delicate flower colors and scents, to feel the warmth of sun-heated concrete under my feet, then its coolness as hose-water ran and spread.
A light, outdoor meal of eggs seasoned with freshly plucked basil and chopped roma tomatoes, still warm from the mid-day vine, was intimately relished. I relaxed, scooted up to a round, tiled table under a bright turquoise umbrella surrounded by the very garden that fed me. Tensions lessened. Though the neighborhood bubbled with human voices chattering, distant lawn-mowers trimming grass, and birds cheeeing from the trees, still I experienced deep peace.
A silhouetted hawk flew confidently overhead, soaring, dipping, teasing. Freedom!
In this state it was easy to forgive. To forgive the dog and the cat for annoying me, the bugs that threatened my flowers, the persistently crabby neighbor lady, and the solicitor who refuses to 'please take my name off the list.'
Then it went deeper. In a moment I found it easy to forgive unfortunate, life-disturbing drama. To forgive all who have wronged me, causing hurt and tears. Lingering aches dissipated as if the sun were reaching down to take them from me, to obliterate them. No longer was I holding onto remembrances of ancient things unrepented. They just didn't matter anymore.
In the expanse I noticed that I had even forgiven myself. My self. Holding onto personal regrets, shames, and disappointments as well as vengeful cravings proved to be a huge, slimy, black parasite eating away at my soul. Now it was gone. The brightness of the sun, the moments of tranquility, the touch of God on a heart kneeling before him untangled and lifted the monster out of my mind, off my shoulders.
The taut umbrella swayed a bit, creaking like a sail, the red-tailed hawk reappeared as if blessing the moment, the scent of purple, pink, and white petunias tickled my nose, and a breeze caressed shade-cooled skin. Thoughts blossomed - "Perhaps forgiveness needs space to come to fruition, space and silence, and cessation from busyness. Perhaps dark, shadowy tentacles of harbored pain thrive in reflection's neglect, hold tighter when allowed freedom to exist unchecked. Perhaps I should remember Jesus' solitude, his moments insisted, not awaited but taken away from soul-thirsty crowds, from apparent opportunity where 'a difference could be made' - he made time for quiet amidst the pressure."
Because it matters.
"We do not really know how to forgive until we know what it is to be forgiven. Therefore we should be glad that we can be forgiven by our brothers. It is our forgiveness of one another that makes the love of Jesus for us manifest in our lives, for in forgiving one another we act towards one another as He has acted towards us." ~~ Thomas Merton