Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Could You Forgive?

I must be crazy to try to start a post about "forgiveness".  Why?  Because it is a terribly complicated topic with all sorts of words that are attached to it in some manner. Words like grudges, resentments, apologies, capitulations, retribution, revenge, acceptance and the the one word that often is attached much in the same way a conjoined twin is attached...the word FORGET. Is it reasonable to think that if you forgive someone for something that you would also be expected to entirely forget the event as well?

It's evidently a big issue for a lot of people.  If a person was inclined to need a book on the subject,  there are 8,226 books on Amazon under the search of forgiveness.

Lately everywhere I turn.... I see, hear, or read about the topic of forgiveness.Take for example the multiple times we are seeing on the news for various people that our asking for our collective forgiveness.  Anthony Weiner wants the people of New York to forgive and forget his inappropriate behavior and elect him to the office of mayor. Perhaps, he will gain everyone's forgiveness. Other politicians and celebrities have done far worse (well...maybe worse but Weiner might get the prize for being crass) and gotten a pass.

But..... are all the declarations  of "I'm sorry" sincere? Are many.... if any of them heartfelt?  How many "I'm sorrys"  are said to smooth over a misstep but said in the same vein as "oops".

 Is Pete Rose, for example,  sincerely sorry when he is selling signed baseballs for $399.00 (Never fear some sites have than for $169.00.) So if you are in the mind to forgive and forget, you can shell out out a couple hundred bucks and help relieve Pete's sense of guilt.

Here in Kansas City, the Sunday paper had a 3 page story about a hit and run accident that was the result of a young man dying in the median of a street after an 18 year old,  hit him hard enough to dent his car's hood and break out the windshield. The teen took a week to contact the police.While this  happened 5 years ago the article deals in large part with the victim's mom not being able to forgive the teenage driver, the driver's lawyer mom who tried to cover the accident up, and  the judge that allowed the driver to serve only 120  days in jail. (it's a very long article but an interesting judicial case...click here) Her grief is not allowing her to forgive, certainly not forget and she is seeking retribution, as well.

Thought Number One:  Are You Capable of Forgiving and Forgetting?

I am always amazed when I hear of a victim of a serious crime or a family member of a victim, that has the capacity of forgiving the perpetrator.   There are thousands of families that have  found it within their reach to forgive the person or persons that harmed or killed their loved ones.  I have had very few, what I would call major wrongs so I can't be absolutely sure how I would handle something such as a murder or violent crime,  but can be fairly certain that I wouldn't forget them.   No...I don't tend to forget much and I certainly wouldn't forget a major  wrong done to me or my loved ones.

As for the forgetting about it part...not likely would I forget some major wrong doing.  I have a pretty good memory. Even in the case of lesser wrongs...I have put things to rest, come to terms, moved on, gotten over it, put on my big girl panties... BUT I didn't forget about it.  I may have  put it to the side,  so it doesn't take a center stage in my life...but I did NOT forget.

Thought Number Two:  It's the Little Things That I Can't Let Go Of.

Which brings me to the things that I should ignore.  The things that are inconsequential and I should shrug off....

BUT NO... these are the things that make me crazy. The things that need to be put to rest and set aside but in the short term...well they make me nuts.

Take for example:  Last week, I was driving back from the
Walmart.  As you might imagine, being at the Walmart brings out my absolute highest level of sweetness (yah, get that is sarcasm, right?)   Anyway...I am leaving the Walmart and sitting at a traffic light waiting to make a left turn  at an intersection.  I am behind a SUV that has stopped for a red. Then the light turns green with a GREEN ARROW.....  Green...green...Cars on the opposite side of the street have made their turns and still we sit.....Still green...not getting any greener....

Hey, YOU IN the car in front of me...The LIGHT IS GREEN!

So I tap my horn to wake up the female driver.  I wasn't laying on the horn or anything....really....it was one quick tap....one lonely little BEEP.... to wake her up or get her off her emails or whatever was keeping her from turning on the  green arrow.

And this is what she did!!!!

Now to make matters worse.She took the time to open the sunroof so she could give me the finger AND THEN  she waited until the green arrow went yellow and sped through the intersection....leaving me to wait for the next light.  That, unfortunately wasn't the end of the story.  She got stopped at the next red light and I am still right behind her. Now I have the indignity of having to be behind the car that has the B***** that flipped me off  ...a second time.  This time when the light turned green she took off like a rocket.

This is the kind of stuff that makes me crazy. Yes..sorry to say there is another alter ego that comes out from time to time.  Crazy Pants.  She doesn't come out often. In fact, Crabby Pants is frightened of her so I try to keep them away from each other.

Yes, Crazy Pants isn't known for forgiving and forgetting. She is known for wanting to settle the score.

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Just Keepin' It Real Folks said...

I'm holding my stomach I'm laughing so damn hard! Did you write this post about me sista cause I hold a grudge FOREVAH!!!! Although I've been working on forgiveness in therapy, I still ain't got the hang of it. Oh, and I am the queen of road rage, so I totally connect with that woman, except I don't wear red nail polish. I'm a French manicure kind of gal.

lisleman said...

You did the right thing with the "2 rude" incident - you posted it. There is something about being in a car that lets us treat others in hostile way. Maybe it's all the metal around us. I bet road rage would decrease if we all just rode scooters.
"Go park yourself at mind your own business." - great one. Is that your creation?

Cheryl P. said...

NOOOO...It can't be you that would of flipped me off. Your in North Cackalacky and haven't been drivin' around Kansas, I hope. Not that I don't welcome you here but I would hate to ram your ride in a road rage incident. (but if we were forced to flip each other off, our manicures would match...I, too have French manicured nails.)

Odd thing with me...I could forgive an honest mistake like someone not seeing me because their kid was distracting them. That I get. But this chick KNEW she sat through the light and flipped me off. Yep...she brought out Crazy Pants.

Cheryl P. said...

HHHMMMM...would there be less road rage on scooters??? I bet your right. Not because the lack of metal but because people could identify us.

Yes, I was trying to come up with a snotty line for Crazy Pants and couldn't come up with one that fit her snarky personality that didn't contain the word F*** so I settled for a less offensive line.

Luvbeingagrampa said...

Love the post.....you may want this graph for you "bizniz"...

Cheryl P. said...

You know how I love graphs. I think that one is amazingly accurate and most graphs are made-up statistics to win us over.

Wendy said...

I couldn't agree more with your more serious thoughts here. yes, forgiveness is complicated, yes, forgive but oh, to forget it, so challenging. I forgive because I'd rather not burden my own life, I won't let the person do that to ME. The incident that needs forgiveness is enough, without compounding it. We humans are an interesting lot. You, and well really all of us who drive, get incensed with drivers like that one, and yet, when we get home an hour later, forgive a child/ spouse/friend for something far more traumatic and hurtful. Maybe this is why we loss it with "2 Rude"; because it is safe. Or talk about drivers behaviours out loud, in the car, when no one else is there (oops, surely I am not the ONLY one that does that, am I?). It releases some tension of life's challenges. Besides, we feel better afterwards, (no road rage incident, please), and have the energy to offer true forgiveness and grace where and when it matters . Best keep good old Crazy Pants around for the occasional 'letting off steam'. She's helping you to forgive!

Cheryl P. said...

Exactly, I think we need to move on and come to terms with what we deem unjust, in as much as it deals with the people we have relationships with..... but the random stranger that slams the door in our face or treats us rudely...they need not matter to us in any significant way. Unfortunately, I think they get under our skin...at least for awhile.

I would never want to actually confront someone over a trivial matter because there are a lot of Crazy Pants out there. This is the kind of thing that could get you run off the road or worse. I am very much a proponent of parking in the "mind your own business" lane.

Trina said...

As always, what a great post! I agree, I may forgive and I may smile but I never forget a wrong doing. The wrong doer may have forgiveness, but next time something of that nature rolls around, I always remember. No, I'm a firm believer of the "Fool me once shame one you, fool me twice shame on me" adage.
Now the chic in the car, that's how road rage happens. I hate it when people bring out the crazy ;)

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,
In my younger days I would have raced along side the girl who flipped me off and made my point. Now, I ignore the morons. I know it's difficult, but there are just too many morons on the road to give each one attention LOL
Clicks for you!

Jo-Anne said...

I can forgive but I find it hard to forget....................many years ago my brother in-law threated my husband over some money and even though I have moved on and have forgiven him I have not forgotten the whole thing and when I say many years ago I am talking about 26yrs ago

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Trina! I agree...if a person treats me badly, I may set it aside but I wouldn't necessarily forget. AND I wouldn't let that person continue to do whatever they are doing that begs forgiveness.

Road rage is a by product of lots of crazy.

Cheryl P. said...

Yes, I agree...it's not worth taking a chance on confronting someone that may or may not have an anger management problem. You might of heard of the incident but a couple of years ago in Dallas a mother taking her kids to school got cut off in traffic and followed the person. She was shot to death by another young mother. All over a traffic disagreement. What a waste.

Cheryl P. said...

I don't necessarily think time heals all the wounds. I had a couple of things that happened years ago as well that occasionally still pop into my mind. I have moved past letting it bother me overly much but...as you say...I haven't forgotten the circumstances either.

Riot Kitty said...

That's so fucked up, but guess what? I have also had someone flip me off when I tapped the horn because they were parked at a green light.

As for forgiveness...no, you can't forget big stuff. I can't imagine forgiving anyone who deliberately harmed someone I loved, but then again, we forgave someone whose likely carelessness resulted in the death of a family member. Because when we were angry, we realized we were eating ourselves alive, and that was no way to live.

TravelBug-Susan said...

Happened to me too. I was at a four-way stop. The lady on my right with a car full of young children decided it was her turn to go immediately following the person in front of her, i.e., she didn't stop. I tooted at her. She gave me the evil eye and flipped me off. I was pissed. Lovely example she's setting for those little ones.

oldereyes said...

There was a time when when I would have tailgated your SUV friend for miles, maybe even going out of my way to do it. I have a friend who says, "I know I'm really crazy when I miss my exit." I try really hard to avoid traffic situations these days. I truly believe that true forgiveness takes time but I can let go of resentments any time I want to. Does that make sense?

Cheryl P. said...

See...this is why the topic of forgiveness is so complicated...the events we have no control over could eat us up if we don't come to terms with it but then what is the limit as to what we are willing to forgive? I, too, have come to terms with some things that shouldn't of happened but did. I am not sure that I would consider myself as having forgiven the people involved as much as just moved on....distancing myself from it.

Cheryl P. said...

I wonder if those parents that behave badly ever stop to think about the example they are setting for their kids? Probably not.

I don't know about San Antonio but here in Kansas City...people think red lights are a "suggestion" as to whether you want to stop or NOT. AND correct lane usage is completely off the table.

Cheryl P. said...

Really?? You would of followed someone (idiot) for miles? Actually, I am finding that funny but I suspect the irritation causing you to tailgate someone for miles was no laughing matter. Your friend is right, of course, CRAZY.

I would love to avoid traffic situations and more specifically bad drivers, but that would be impossible. Here in KC it has come to my attention that 99% of cars don't have turning signals. I am sure that is the case as I rarely see evidence of their existence. Proper lane usage is for sissies, and red lights are suggestions for "gunning it".

Yes, true forgiveness would take work...frankly I am not sure that on a "biggy" I would ever truly forgive as much as find a way to deal with it and consider the event in the light of " what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger." For whatever, reason, the word forgiveness, in my mind, is saying "Thus let bygones be bygones. Let past differences, as nothing be" .(Abraham Lincoln)

I applaud you that you let resentments go. I stew about these piddly things for a day or two and then move on to the next piddly thing that takes it's place.

Linda R. said...

I may have forgotten more than I remember along the walk of life, but I rarely forget a real or perceived injustice. Walmart has its own issues but still I go there at least once a week.

Cheryl P. said...

I can relate to that. Even if I get past something, come to terms with it...that doesn't mean I have forgotten it.

Oh...if I was going to hold grudges there probably is more than a time or two that Walmart would of made my sh** list. I wouldn't even think of saying I won't shop there because they make it too handy. Like you, I am there at least once a week.

Cheryl P. said...

As I just re-read that...you did understand the idiot I was referring to was the crappy driver and not you, I hope.

Nicky said...

I have no trouble forgiving and forgetting. After I've made the person pay, of course. :-)

Seriously, this is a tough subject. It's not easy to really forgive and I can't believe anyone ever really forgets. It may not always be at the front of your mind, but the scars left by someone doing you wrong don't just disappear.

Cheryl P. said...

hahahaha ...you need a hat like Grudge Kitty has.

I absolutely agree....if a person could or would forgive, I can't believe a person would forget. Again, I agree, that even if a person doesn't dwell on it, a hurt leaves a scar.

AletaObrien said...

I don't hold grudges like most of my family. It might take me some time, but I generally let things go, well... not really let them go... I think of it as writing it in a book, closing the book, packing the book in a box and putting it in storage. If I should need it, it's there, but usually I don't have to open the pages. I do this more for me than the person who has hurt me. I like to move on and enjoy life.
But yeah, things like what the person did at the Wal-Mart life - I wish them some pretty cruel things! The nerve!

Cheryl P. said...

You and I are exactly alike on this subject. I let it go...in the sense that I don't dwell on it (at least for very long), put it aside and go on living my life BUT I don't actually forget about it either.

I always wonder if people like this have miserable lives and huge numbers of traffic tickets.

meleahrebeccah said...

I am actually very quick to forgive. Harboring grudges & resentments is exhausting.

However ….

"I am always amazed when I hear of a victim of a serious crime or a family member of a victim, that has the capacity of forgiving the perpetrator." - ME TOO.

Like if my son was injured/killed by another driver - I don't think I would EVER be able to forgive.


Much like you - shockingly - it's the little things that drive me the craziest! The woman who gave you the finger is an ASSHOLE. The end.

Cheryl P. said...

I am pretty quick to forgive the small injustices but I agree, if someone hurt one of my kids, I wouldn't ever get over it I think. I can't imagine how I would react but it would be ugly.

Those little things make me crazy but I shrug it off to "some people are rude A-holes" and usually after a day or too I find someone new to be pissed off at.

meleahrebeccah said...

We are so the same it's scary!