today i rode the bus to washington d.c. for my internship orientation. it was my first time in the area, first time using that bus, and my first time at union station. needless to stay, i had no idea where i was going. i also had no idea how to use their ticket machines nor how to get from the bus to the red line. like all of the other passengers, i was in a hurry. and unfortunately, when you are in a hurry, sometimes people find it more important to get to where they need to be, rather than be polite. trust me, i experienced it first hand. while holding everyone up at the entry gate, i received dirty looks and a few sighs of exasperation. and while i stood on the escalator and gathered my bearings (instead of walking down the moving stairs), i was kindly yelled at and told to “keep walking” and “stop holding up the line.” i felt bad, but i felt even more mad…especially at the person behind me who i thought was being inconsiderate and unkind; as a side note, i hardly ever find yelling to be necessary or constructive. although i rarely get mad, i found myself angry even after i found the correct train and made it to the correct stop. and to be honest, because i was mad, i did’t go out of my way to offer any smiles or be extra helpful to anyone else.
today was meaningful because i turned the corner. i was mad.frustrated.annoyed because i got yelled at when i was lost and trying my best, and the lady was mad because i probably made her more late than she already was. but like i said, it was my first time in washington d.c. and i decided that one incident wasn’t going to determine how the rest of my day went. more importantly, i realized that i did in fact play a part in the problem. by accepting the situation for what it was, recognizing the role i played, and forgiving the woman for the role she played, i was able to let it go. simple as that.
and while you more than likely- perhaps unconsciously- forgive strangers, acquaintances, and friends on a daily basis–it’s not always that easy. and it becomes more difficult when the situation involves someone you care(d) about. but maybe that is what makes it even more important.
the thing about forgiveness is that it needs to happen in order for you to move on.
i have had to try to forgive people on two occassions. and i say try because it was a conscious, motivated effort. i also say try because it wasn’t easy, especially because my feelings had been hurt and i felt like i had been wronged. i don’t even know if i necessarily wanted to forgive, but i did anyway. i don’t think forgiveness is as much about the other person as it is about yourself. i also say “had” because it was necessary. if i didn’t allow myself to forgive the person and situation, then there was a part of myself that wasn’t mine; a part that i didn’t have control over. you forgive someone not because what happened is “suddenly okay” but because you don’t want to have anger and hatred brewing in your heart. because people are more important than problems. it sounds cheesy, but really. i think forgiveness is about understanding that people make mistakes. i also think forgiveness is about acceptance.letting go.and moving on.
for me, forgive and forget doesn’t mean that you should pretend the incident never happened, nor does it mean that everything can go back to the way it once was..sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that. and sometimes, you have to find it in your heart to forgive people even when they are not sorry. but i have found that that is okay too. it may not be because they deserve your forgiveness, but because you do. and if i have learned anything along the way, it is that holding on to previous wrong-doings only keeps you stuck in the past. i’d rather be looking towards the future. and to be honest, i’m just not sure what choosing “not to forgive” really does, because after all, holding onto anger, bitterness, and hurt only makes you angry, bitter, and hurt.
i forgive because i want my heart to be full of love.
i forget because i have better things to remember.
that’s it. :)