On Forgiveness: To give even when I am stripped of everything

I was inspired by the author of the famous 30 by 30 Project to put Forgive in my list too at the time I was building my own list. After all, I did have that one {or two} person I had held a grudge for the last six years maybe. As years went by, there were more people in the grudge list and on the rare occasion that I ponder on the meaning of life and why forgive, I'd thought that when I finally learn how to wield that almighty virtue of knowing how to forgive, I could sprinkle a dash of forgiveness for all of them all at the same time. Or maybe the universe will vindicate me at some point and in my head I would walk in front of them with my head held high and them in apologetic faces and gestures.

It's been more than a year and I didn't know as much as I {think} I do now.

I owe it to S {you know who you are}, who shared with me her personal battles with forgiveness, and later on this prayer of forgiveness as detailed in Paulo Coelho's book, Aleph. I didn't think forgiveness could be answered by a prayer {shame on me for not thinking a prayer can answer anything!}. As I read line by line, tears were starting to form in my eyelids and I was shaken by the thought that forgiveness is not a one-time, big-time event in life. It is a continuous process one must do everyday with every single thing that passes through one's life. Each day, each minute and every time I do myself something I wasn't supposed to do, I forgive myself. I forgive the circumstances of my daily life. I have to forgive myself for making bad decisions in the past. I need to forgive the citizens of Mandaluyong who always cross the roads every five seconds and for driving me with road rage every single day. I need to forgive the people who purposely do something to get ahead of me. I need to forgive the guy who cut me on the road. I have to forgive the judgy receptionist at the spa and the men who leer at me when I walk by. I need to forgive the circumstances I have no control over. I have to forgive the people I love who hurt me, a more painful thing than being hurt by people you don't know. In order to exercise forgiveness, one must forgive without hearing the word "Sorry," even when the hurtful deed is still in the process of being done, even when you don't get vindicated and never will be, even when the people who hurt you don't deserve it. That, I thought was, forgiveness.

That and giving someone who have immeasurably hurt you  the nicest chocolate you can find --- without having to hear the word "Sorry."

The Prayer of Forgiveness, lifted from Aleph, by Paulo Coelho:

Hilal searches for inspiration on the golden walls, the columns, the people coming at this hour of the morning, the flames of the lit candles.

- I forgive the girl I was, not because I want to become a saint but because I do not want to endure this hatred. This tiresome hatred.

This was not what I expected.
- You may not forgive everyone and everything, but forgive me.
- I forgive everything and everyone. I forgive you because I love you and you do not love me. I forgive you because you reject me and I am losing my power.

She closes her eyes and raises her hands towards the ceiling.

- I am liberated from hatred by means of forgiveness and love. I understand that suffering, when it cannot be avoided, helps me to advance towards glory.

Hilal speaks softly but the acoustics of the church are so perfect that everything she says seems to echo throughout the four corners. But my experience tells me that she is channeling the spirit of a child.

The tears I shed, I forgive.
The suffering and disappointments, I forgive.
The betrayals and lies, I forgive.
The slandering and scheming, I forgive.
The hatred and persecution, I forgive.
The punches that were given, I forgive.
The shattered dreams, I forgive.
The dead hopes, I forgive.
The disaffection and jealousy, I forgive.
The indifference and ill will, I forgive.
The injustice in the name of justice, I forgive.
The anger and mistreatment, I forgive.
The neglect and oblivion, I forgive.
The world with all its evil, I forgive.


She lowers her arms, opens her eyes and places her hands on her face.
I move closer to kiss her, but she makes a signal with her hands.
- I have not finished yet.
She closes her eyes and looks up.

Grief and resentment, I replace with understanding and agreement.
Revolt, I replace with music that comes from my violin.
Pain I replace with oblivion.
Revenge, I replace with victory.

I will be able to love above all discontentment.
To give even when I am stripped of everything.
To work happily even when I find myself in the midst of all obstacles.
To dry tears even when I am still crying.
To believe even when I am discredited.


She opens her eyes, puts her hands on my head and says with an authority that comes from above:

- Thy will be done. Thy will be done.

It's a miracle how the prayer lifted me up to dissipate all thoughts of anguish, of grief, of loss. Today, I am forgiving myself, the past, today and all that I've lost.

Thank you, S, for sharing with me the wonderful prayer. May you find your own way to forgiveness and that your heart be free of the hurt.

Love,
T.