One of the blessings of memory is the opportunity it gives us to go back in our minds and apologize to those we have thoughtlessly made suffer, and promise them such a thing will never happen again. And though at first it may seem contradictory, the blessing is especially great when the person we are addressing has already passed on. When the wrong is acknowledged and the apology and pledge are made in all sincerity, the burden of one’s past behavior is not only relieved; it can be set aside once and for all. The resulting restoration of loving ties brings about more than a welcome reunion; it awakens us to the realization that the recipients still live on within us. Then, with our consciences clear, we are able to know and understand them, and ourselves, better.
In the same way, we can go back and apologize to ourselves for our own blindness and ignorance. We can forgive ourselves for the foolish and perhaps even shameful things we have done, such as abusing our bodies, dominating our spouses and children, always trying to appear right and intelligent, or being competitive at the tragic cost of kindness, fairness, and honesty.
The alternative is a terrible one: clinging to our regrets and our burdens, and dragging them with us to the end of our lives.
November 9, 2021
History is that part of the present
some think is past and done,
never quite knowing
it is a garment
Recently Banned Literature, November 4, 2014
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