Forgiveness, like ogres, is like an onion. It has layers.
It’s a tricky thing to truly forgive someone who’s hurt you deeply. As for me, I consistently find more layers of forgiveness I need to work on. It seems like the more progress I make, the more progress I discover is still yet to be made.
It’s really kind of exhausting.
Think of forgiveness as a vase shattered into a thousand little shards of glass. You pick up the big pieces first – they’re the easiest to see. They are the general idea of what you’re forgiving. “You hurt me, and I forgive you for that.” But as time goes on, you discover the smaller pieces. Pieces you missed the first time. And there are a lot of them. These are the littler things that you realize still make you so very angry. And you pick them up, one by one, but they’re hard to see. Sometimes the only way to find them is by stepping on them in bare feet and feeling the pain. Collecting these pieces can be painstaking and time consuming. They’re difficult to find. Small lies or breaches of trust that, oddly enough, hurt even more than the big picture.
The thing is, though, that you have to pick up the pieces of the shattered vase. All of them. It’s dangerous to leave them there on the floor, because leaving them means continuing to hurt yourself. Whether on purpose or on accident, you’ll keep stepping on those little pieces of glass. They will be sharp, and they will cause you pain. So wouldn’t it be better – difficult though it is – to just clean them up?
The truth is that yes, it is better. But it can be hard as hell. You might be able to pick them up by hand, you might need a dustpan, you might need an industrial power vacuum cleaner. It doesn’t matter what you use, what matters is that you don’t leave shattered glass on the floor. Because other people can hurt themselves on it too, whether you want that or not.
Oh, forgiveness. The biggest challenge yet.