I am currently reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and something in the book made me stop and think.
The author writes, “What characterizes the human race more, Karla once asked me, cruelty, or the capacity to feel shame for it? I thought the question acutely clever then, when I first heard it, but I’m lonelier and wiser now, and I know it isn’t cruelty or shame that characterizes the human race. It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would’ve annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.”
Because we can forgive. If we clasp on to anger about how our loved ones act, how our neighbours act, how our government acts or how we act ourselves, it holds us back. If we forgive, we live on. We hope that tomorrow will be a better day. We believe that the tide will turn.
We all need that hope now more than ever. Let’s start by forgiving ourselves. For our imperfections. For our mistakes. For the things we wish we never did and the things we wish we never said.
And begin again.