My theme this week is Forgiveness. What is it, and how does it manifest in the stories of our lives. What leads us to forgive and why is it important?
A poem by Emily Dickinson
My heart was heavy, for its trust had been
Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong;
So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men,
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among
The green mounds of the village burial-place;
Where, pondering how all human love and hate
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late,
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face,
And cold hands folded over a still heart,
Pass the green threshold of our common grave,
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart,
Awed for myself, and pitying my race,
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave,
Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!
Commonality & Forgiveness
Dickinson’s poem moves from the heavy-hearted wanderer, the victim, to the liberated strength of the forgiver.
Through placing herself in the context of humanity as a whole she recognizes that she, like those who wrong her, is subject to the same end in death.
I think the strength of this poem is that it gives us tool we can use to cultivate forgiveness: Commonality
Commonality comes from the word common or community meaning “the common people” and is defined as shared features or attributes; a sharing of features or characteristics in common; the possession or manifestation of common attributes.
I think it is the manifestation of common features that ultimately enables us to forgive someone.
We can manifest these features through our own self-understanding, our compassion, and our empathy.
I’m not saying we should be common, or that the goal is to be normal because that would be a more of pacifying or prohibiting self-expression. Common in the sense is finding the essence of human experience in ourselves and the other and developing a sense of a community not based on normalcy or sameness but on the shared experience of being human ie. we are all born and we all die and we suffer and we rejoice.