Last Sunday I talked about the tendency, among some of us at least, to want to hurry to forgiveness, as if we can skip the intermediate steps. Doing the work of forgiveness requires acknowledging you have hurt someone, and trying to make amends, and finally asking, “Can you forgive me?” This isn’t easy. It can feel vulnerable, and risky. And it’s worth it.
Three weeks ago, I preached a sermon about the culture of white supremacy that haunts our nation; and how important it is that we not be silent about things that matter. After church a couple of men asked, “What about Harvey Weinstein?” They were struck by the courage of the women who have come forward to tell the truth that they had been sexually harassed or abused by Weinstein, or by other men. And I was heartened that men here are thinking about this.
Years ago I had the experience of working individually with one of my art students when he became terminally ill. I volunteered with anxiety, worrying that I lacked the temperament and skill to deal with anything so hard. Yet day-by-day, my student’s courage taught me many things. So did the compassion of others in the community.
“Just as long as I have breath, I must answer, ‘Yes,’ to life” (hymn #6 in Singing the Living Tradition). This is what we aiming for, right? To live our lives fully and well while we’re here. Easier said than done, of course. But as Thoreau said, “To live deliberately… to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life… and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”