Young @ Heart by Pam Young
A few years ago I wrote an essay about the challenge I had of forgiving a couple of people I’d had ill feelings toward. In the essay I told about cutting a potato in half to represent each person and carving their names in the halves to keep on my desk until I could forgive them. Here is the report that came after that.
My Potato Report:
February 25: Halves have been on my desk for eight days. They are very scary looking, and are starting to smell like dirty feet or dirty laundry that’s been in the hamper too long.
February 26: Halves are getting soft and dark. I had an Aha Moment! It is as ridiculous to be mad at the potato halves on my desk, as it is to be mad at the people they represent. There is NO difference.
Is it the potato’s fault that my office smells like dirty feet and there are gnats circling? No, the potato halves are just being what they are— rotting potato halves. If I allow them to stay on my desk it’s my fault. Is it the people’s fault (who the potato halves represent) that I’ve been upset and angry? No, they are just being who they are. If I allow the people the potato halves represent to pull me from my joy, it’s my fault. The rotting potato halves on my desk have done nothing to me that I need to forgive, anymore than the people they represent have done anything to me that I need to forgive. There is nothing or no one to forgive, but me for having bad feelings about the potato halves and the people they represent.
In fact the potato halves that represent the people have been taking up way more energy in my mind than the people they represent. That tickles me! It shows me how silly this whole thing was in the first place and is now. Every bit of this has been in my mind! Who can I blame? ME. Who can I forgive? ME! Who loves me? ME.
March 1: The potato halves are still on my desk only because it is very interesting to observe. It is still teaching me some stuff in a very humorous albeit smelly way. Right now I am actually enjoying looking at them! They are funny!
March 2: I received this email.
The essay on forgiveness couldn’t have come at a better time. An employee of mine is having trouble forgiving the former management staff of some pretty horrible things they said and did to her. It has been over a year now and she has been feeling as though it is time to forgive and has seen how holding on to this is affecting her health. However, even with this knowledge she is having trouble letting go. Moments before the essay reached my inbox, she came to me talking about how her and her husband might be getting divorced. After reading my email, I printed the forgiveness essay for her to read. Later that night she sent a text message thanking me for sharing the article with her. She said she was beginning to see things in a different light.
March 12: I have to report the potato halves are still on my desk! They have dried up! They don’t stink and there are no longer any gnats flying around my office. I think the potato halves are in the process of petrifying! Maybe when we get our petty grievances out in the open (as I did with my essay and cutting open the potato) those grievances get a chance to just dry up! It’s when we keep things secret and pretend we’re fine that things fester and decay. One of my readers sent me this: “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.”- Anne Lamott
This has really been fun and you know my saying; Make it fun and it will get done. Next week Young@Heart will be the Forgiveness Essay.