Friday, November 04, 2016

Friendship and Forgiveness

When I was a meditating hippie, I wanted to be one of those avatars, the fully-realized human beings who, even though they could leave The Wheel, avoid further reincarnations, and join the Infinite Bliss? instead stayed on to help their suffering fellows, a shining beacon against the big darkness.

There were never more than a relative few of these exemplary people at any one time, so the story went, those who had found a true path, gotten their shit together, and shaken off the shackles of the usual to become something finer.

Haven't made it there, and when I look at my watch, I notice the hour has gotten late ...

One of my failings had to do with compassion, and forgiveness. I never got past the quid pro quo aspect of those. 

From time to time, I would get crosswise with friends or family. Harsh words exchanged, feelings hurt, feelings of betrayal, and the resulting anger simmered on, unresolved.

From where I sat, if such a thing happened, I needed to examine my thoughts and actions and see if -- where -- I had screwed up. If I saw that I had part (or all) of that, then my responsibility was clear: I had to apologize and try to make it right. 

Was it me? Why, yes, that happened a lot. 

Not always. If the person on the other side of the River of Outrage owned part or all of it? Then they, too,  had to tug the forelock and do one of two things: Apologize, or at least offer a reasonable explanation as to why they shouldn't need to do so.

If you sinned against me, you needed to say so and ask for forgiveness. I was willing to give it, but I had to hear you say you needed it.

Thus: Dude, I said some things I shouldn't have said, I was wrong, and I'm sorry. My fault.


Dude, let me tell you what I meant, and how I came to that position, okay?

If I accepted the apology (or they did); or listened to the explanation (or they did) and came to realize that maybe things weren't quite as we thought, then we could clean it up and move on. 

This wasn't how the fully-realized beings did it, mind you, because they had true compassion, but it was the level I had reached. 

If neither explanation nor expressed sorrow came when I believed it should? That bridge was burned, and whatever might remain of the connection was not going to be what it was.
The balm I needed to heal the wound was regret they had caused it, and if they wouldn't give it? Done.

And since time tends to make such things less painful, eventually the bleeding stops and there you go.

The window eventually closed, however. If you wanted to make it right, I needed to hear it, and ten years on? Or after I had to tell you it was due? Too late. 

Still haven't gotten past this, so my shining avatar elevation isn't on the schedule. I suspect this is how it is for many people. Something happens, and somebody who was a friend no longer is; somebody you'd go help bury the body, no questions asked, will have to deal with corpses they make on their own. 

Things change, worlds move.

Why this topic? Certain days in the fall, when the gray rules and the fog hangs on, bring up old memories, tapes etched so deep that time and overlays haven't erased them. 

Not to worry. It is a fleeting thing. Tomorrow is another day, the sun will come out ...