The last time I wrote here—a little over a week ago, I said these words: Paul Buckman? I may have to wrestle with this over and over again, but today, I forgive you.
I wonder how many who read this the first time around caught the word today.
We like to think forgiveness means forgetting. And often it should. A slight or slur forgiven four years earlier ought to soon become something of little consequence and certainly not an event or circumstance to be trotted back out again and again.
In the great biblical chapter of love (1 Corinthians 13, NIV), Paul says love… keeps no record of wrongs.
And in that sense, forgiveness, love, and forgetfulness all become intertwined.
Forgiving Paul Buckman can never mean forgetting.
There is no way short of a full frontal lobotomy to ever forget the events of October 10, 2011.
Not on this side of eternity.
And maybe not ever.
From my perspective, heaven’s promise to wipe away all tears does not mean all past heartaches will be forgotten. However, I believe it does mean the sting, pain, and hurt will all be taken away.
So, as I said before, forgiving Paul Buckman can never mean forgetting.
The consequences, fall out, and ripple effects are ever before us.
There are empty places at the table.
There are tears for the missing.
There are hurts at key moments and significant events with the absence of those who have gone on before.
Indeed, every time a little seven year old boy says, I miss my mom, there is no way to forget.
Forgiveness does not always mean forgetting.
Somethings just cannot be done.
So what then?
How do you forgive that which utterly destroys?
How do you forgive an obscenity that most cannot even imagine?
How do you forgive a nightmare scenario that becomes reality?
How do you forgive a life altering event that cannot possibly be forgotten?
And maybe that is your question too.
Maybe you have never and will never experience anything like our family tragedy.
But maybe just maybe you still know the pain of unfairness.
Maybe you have known what it felt like to be treated unkindly and condescendingly.
Maybe you have experienced insult and slander.
Maybe you have experienced harsh attitudes and harsher actions from someone who was supposed to love you.
How do you forgive when you cannot forget.
Letting something go is a cliched concept that is easier said than done.
Instead, the key for me is today.
Paul Buckman? I may have to wrestle with this over and over again, but today, I forgive you.
Today, I choose forgiveness instead of bitterness.
Today, I choose peace and tranquility.
Today, I choose life instead of the despair of anger and rage.
Today, I choose to live.
I cannot ever forget the horror that invaded our lives.
But I can choose to live a life of love.
Once more, the Apostle Paul says, love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I choose love with the hope and perseverance it brings.
Today, I choose to forgive.
I choose to live.
I choose love.
How about you? What will you choose?
Les Ferguson, Jr.