Today, I will meet with Marina Cantacuzino of The Forgiveness Project. We will share a meal and kindred conversation about Sawbonna, and of course about forgiveness. Because for me life is a journey of kenotic experience, answering to the liminal, poetic poignancy, compelling dances with words, and grace, if miracles and magic, I was awe-full to have chosen Shantaram as the first book I would read here in my new home for a time, London, England. In the last sentence of the first paragraph of this fascinating tome, are these words, "And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life."
I make no bones and no fanciful play about the fact that that "f" word is one that continues to invite, if insist, that we engage in the salsa, samba, waltz, and capoeira of our dance with words, and how and what they mean, in the personal, public, and political spheres. Forgiveness is not a system, is not a recipe, is not a one time action or reaction, is not a form to be filled, not a poster to be plastered, not a cross upon which to be hung. It is a personal journey, which is connected first and foremost to how we respond when savaged by crimes done against us or crimes we have committed, oft-times both. When Glen and I met we talked about forgiveness. I said to him that I did not know what forgiveness meant, that it was too "big" verging on "arrogance," as though I had some sort of power over him. And the fact is that I did not forgive Glen, but by Grace and Grace alone, forgiveness happened.
And in a paradoxical manner it was as if we were both forgiven.
I do not understand the ways of Universe, Life, Mystery. What I do understand is that each time I choose to engage in and with and because of Sawbonna, which is the act of seeing shared humanity, a shared humanity contoured in the crucible of: respect, responsibility, relationship, and wonder, I know that I am shaping public policy - pubic policy connected to the relationship between hatred and forgiveness.
I know that even with my rage, angst, fears, frustrations, and penchant to want to "do something worthy, now," I am capable of choosing to engage in life and loss and injustice/s from a place where hatred, though felt, known, acknowledged, permitted venting room via words to a page, via abundant tears, via fast-paced walks, fiery expletives, and "hair-tearing," that I am sharing public policy by being human, being real, and not accepting a state of fear, repression, submission, or excuses, which can lead to stark androcentric, patriarchal, and knee-jerk responses i.e. "We do not do Circle here!" Forgiveness is a process, and Sawbonna invites engagement with that process. Daily. No matter the crime.