Laura Marjorie Miller
In most modern practices, we talk and hear a lot about practicing forgiveness, but usually from the standpoint of forgiving others. It usually includes forgiving someone virtually, who has not actually asked for it (‘I forgive my father for being verbally abusive to me in my childhood’); or forgiving ourselves, but save for Judaism and 12-Step programs, there is little to be found about being the one who needs to be forgiven, about how to accomplish that complex and challenging exchange of grace.
Forgiveness is a two-way street, and if you are the one who needs to be forgiven, you are definitely not in the place of the hero. It’s embarrassing and difficult, grotty and unglamorous, harrowing and uncomfortable, to be the one who would plead forgiveness from another person.
But to be able to practice forgiveness presumes that there is someone else who needs forgiveness. How seldom do we ever want to acknowledge that person is our own self.
Several years ago, I did a grievous wrong to the person I loved most in the world. If you know me well, you may know what it was. If you don’t, then suffice to say that if anyone asked me, ‘What is the worst thing you ever did?’, I could answer that question without hesitating for a second.
For years I put off asking forgiveness for it, first from pride, but then because I assumed that the person whom I harmed could never forgive me. I think deep down I was afraid of that, and what it would feel like to ask forgiveness and be told ‘No.’
But finally I did, in those words, ‘Please forgive me.’ And they did, and I was. I was forgiven.
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