Part Two: Forgiveness
(Please see previous post for Part 1)

So… you’re in a boat. The boat is constructed of all the hurts of the past. Every board is painted with painful memories, bad choices and opportunities missed. You’ve accepted reality. You’ve read the boards, cried it out and now you’re ready to swim away and get to the shore. The boat can float away, out in to sea for all you care. So you get out of the boat in faith that your arms and legs will carry you. But suddenly, you’re sinking. Rapidly. There’s an enormous chain wrapped around you and there’s an anchor at the other end pulling you straight down.

With one arm loose you try to swim. You feel your self getting stronger and notice that you can at least keep from going under but you aren’t getting very far. Exhausted from all the flailing you try to get back to the boat but you’re too heavy to get back in so you just hold on to the edge.

All of these thoughts start swarming your head. All of the terrible things written on that boat keep reminding you why you were out at sea, alone, to begin with, in a rickety boat with no life jacket. Anger begins to set in deeper and deeper with every attempt to get free and before you know it bitterness is consuming you. Any time someone comes by in their own boat and offers to help you say hi, talk about anything but the obvious, refuse their help and are left feeling alone again. You have little hope of getting to the shore, in fact, you’ve spent so much time with all of this weight you’re now afraid of being without it.

As your eyes weigh heavy, dragging you down, you slip into a swift dream. Dark clouds are surrounding you. You’re in the boat. The waves are crashing against the sides, tossing you all over. Grasping the boat with both hands trying not to be thrown from it you muster an earnest yet heedless prayer “God, don’t let me drowned!” Suddenly you’re standing in a vacant room, staring in to a mirror. There’s a chain hanging from your neck and a key with the engraving “forgiveness.”

Jolted from the dream you feel confused. How does the key remove this chain? There is no lock. Moved by sheer desperation you begin to let go. “I choose to forgive…..” “I choose to forgive….” “I choose to forgive…” “Not that one, Lord, he was especially evil…” “I don’t need to forgive that one… they didn’t mean it…” “ok…yes. that one too…and I choose to forgive that one too…”

Link by link the chain is literally falling off of you as though each link is a moment. You’ve been so focused on the freedom forgiveness is giving you that you didn’t even notice you also drifted to shore. Now standing on the beach, you watch the boat begin to drift away. Carrying only a few links of that chain you collapse on the shore and find rest in the sand. Only the intrigue of laughter and the smell of good food bring you to your feet, leaving the last few links behind, you join the others.

Forgiveness doesn’t say that what someone did is ok. It DOES let them off the hook though. It says “I release you. You don’t owe me anything.” It isn’t easy but it gets easier. It isn’t for them. It’s for you. They aren’t carrying your chains. You are.