For sure, to err is human. It's part of what makes us humans beautiful. Our imperfect natures. It’s how we learn. Hand in fire, get burned, won’t do that again. But then there are all those other errs. Errors. F*ck ups. Misdeeds. Those are also human. But I have to question the rest of the famous Alexander Pope quote “to err is human; to forgive, divine.” Because I think to forgive, isn't Godly. It is even more human. It’s easy to screw up. It is harder to forgive. Forgiveness costs us something. It takes consideration. It takes understanding. It takes more than your head. You have to involve your heart, your soul into the act of forgiving. You have to open them. You have to step aside, look beyond your heartache or whatever harm you've suffered and absolve the other human. So, yeah, in that way, divine. I suppose.
I read the article that went viral last year about the man who changed his computer password to “I forgive her” about his ex-wife. He typed it several times a day, which made him think the words several times a day, and eventually he felt the words. He said it changed his life.
It was at the lowest point of my life when I heard his story. My life was shattered and I was still crawling around on my hands and knees trying to find the shards of myself. I definitely was NOT up to forgiving anybody (read husband). I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep on going in this life. I was low.
I found it hard to believe that something so simple could make such a difference. It sounded a bit like hooey to me, like an Oprah moment, or an internet mantra. But the words ‘changed his life’ resonated. I mean, I believe in the power of thought, but don’t always find it easy to control mine. I do believe in the power of words, but the ones running through my head at that time were heavy and dark and difficult to change. Namaste and amen and all of that are beautiful and I’ve meditated, been baptized and gone clear in Scientology (although that one, I can’t really hold up as something I believe). I had nothing else to lose.
Needless to say, I tried it. I changed my password to “I forgive him”. And I typed it over and over. For days I thought about changing my password to something else. Because when I typed “I forgive him” I didn’t feel I forgive him. I felt sad, or angry, or like a shallow person for not forgiving him. Or I felt nothing. I typed “I forgive him” and it meant the same to me as “I don’t like bologna”. Nothing. But I didn't change it, I kept typing it. Because sometimes, typing those words meant I had to think those words. And sometimes when I thought those words, I would actually turn them over in my mind. Rub them like a smooth river stone. Sometimes I let myself imagine what it might take for me to actually forgive him. And sometimes I typed the words and put my head down on my desk and wept and wept. And then one day, I typed the words and realized the only thing I felt for him, was love. I felt big love. Maybe more love than I had ever felt for him before. And now, many months later, I still feel it. I’m not saying it was a magic cure, although the practice was magical. But I am saying, that to forgive is deeply, profoundly human. And deep, profound humanity is, maybe, divine.