Forgiveness, starring Lemonade and Ricki and the Flash

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Shameka, what the hell kind of title is that? What are you writing about now?” But I did it to pull you in. It worked, right? So walk with me. I promise I have a point, and those two ladies are at the center of it. Good news is, I’m back to using TV as inspiration for my life. Lol.

I watched Lemonade like the rest of the world and am just in awe of Queen Bey. Now, people who know me know that while I don’t dislike her, I am certainly not her biggest fan. So for her newest project to touch me so much really means something. It’s significant. For me. I wasn’t looking to be so captivated by it, wasn’t looking for it to resonate with me. But it did. And one element of it especially. Now, in this mini movie, Bey seems to be chronicling a journey of a woman going through a romantic crisis. She goes from wondering about her husband’s distance, to finding out about his infidelity, the pain and anger of her confrontation, forgiveness and reform, and finally, a higher level of self, and of happiness. I’m sure there’s a deeper meaning to it all as well, but on the surface, this is what appears to be being depicted. Now whether she’s speaking literally of her and Jay has been the topic all over social media, but that’s not what I’m concerned about today. When she gets to the point of forgiveness, the section features both her and Jay and she sings a song called “Sand Castles.” That part speaks to me… and I wonder about forgiveness. But that was just the beginning. The universe continued it’s prod in this direction again today.

Today, I happened to watch a cute little dramedy starring Meryl Streep called, Ricki and the Flash. It’s a movie about a wife and mother who leaves her family to pursue her rock star dreams and gets called back into the fold years later when she’s distant and washed up, to help with a daughter (whom she barely knows) who has been abandoned by her husband. It’s a lesson in swallowing your pride, but also in redemption… and forgiveness. See the recurring theme? Told you guys I had a point! Anyway, all of that got me to wondering about forgiveness. Should we always forgive? Does everyone deserve it? Are there levels? Does forgiveness mean forgetting? How does anyone do it fully? Forgive, I mean.

So let me jump right in. When someone does you wrong, lets you down, breaks their promise and your trust, is forgiveness always the way? Is it the truth and the light? People always say you should forgive, for yourself. They say it’s so YOU can move on, with a clear head and heart and it doesn’t have anything to do with the other person. But it does. Forgiveness absolves them, it wipes their slate clean. You might not have done it FOR them, but they benefit. You might think it’s petty for me to concern myself with that, and you’re probably not wrong. But it’s how I feel. So here we are. I’m all about justice and balancing the scales. And when someone who’s harmed me gets to skip away unscathed with no comeuppance, my petty comes out. I mean, it’s quite possible that the other person doesn’t even care and will skip away unscathed anyway–but if that’s going to happen, then you certainly don’t need to have my forgiveness to go with it. I’m much more likely to forgive if I can at least count on you to be contrite about your shit.

Then I wonder what my level is. Because I’ve done plenty of things wrong. And one would think I’d want to forgive as I’ve obviously been forgiven. We all think the things we’ve done are forgivable. And it’s easy to pass judgement and say that other people’s transgressions aren’t. Trust me, I know. And I get it. And as much as I struggle with forgiveness, I still realize that I need it too. I still want it. But I also know when I’ve done wrong and I acknowledge it. I work hard to make amends. I want people to be able to trust me. I think sometimes I worry a little too much about that. Sometimes I’m pretty consumed with making sure I’m walking that straight and narrow, and showing the appropriate contrition for the things I do. So I usually feel like someone who has in fact “earned” forgiveness. But that’s just me. It’s the rest of the world I’m worried about. And it doesn’t really work that way anyway, right? Or does it? Do you have to “earn” forgiveness? Or does everyone just “deserve” it?

On a more spiritual note, some say it pulls you closer to God to forgive as he forgives, as he’s forgiven you. To err is human, to forgive, divine, and all that jazz. And I think there could be some truth to that. I think it does put you on a bit of higher plane to forgive someone completely and without any lingering negative feeling. I just don’t think I’m ready to be on the plane. And is that really the goal? I mean, should I forgive everyone, all the time? I don’t think I should, nor do I even think it’s possible. And frankly, so what if I didn’t? I guess I really can’t get to the higher plane then. But quite honestly, sometimes forgiveness is tiring and being the “bigger person” is vastly overrated. Sometimes is it not better to simply cut the offensive persons out of your life and move on? What do they need with your forgiveness? Like I said a couple of paragraphs ago, they probably don’t even care. But you’re doing it for you, right? Not them. So there should be satisfaction in that. Hmmm… maybe.

Then ┬áthere’s the whole forgive/ forget argument. Some people say you should forgive, but never forget. Others say that you haven’t fully forgiven if you don’t forget. I don’t see how you could ever forget some things, even if you do forgive. But I guess that in order not to let the mistake color how you treat the person, you’d have to forget on some level, wouldn’t you? I think that’s my issue. I mean, I let my anger go. And I cry enough to wash away the hurt, and I forgive. I do. But I’m always cautious with you from that point. I don’t ever feel like I can let you all the way in, again. Does that mean I didn’t really forgive you?

I guess there really are levels. It depends on whether you’re ready, whether your life is being held up by your anger, and in some cases, whether you feel like you should, or want to. Forgiveness in the eye of the beholder, huh? Like beauty. And art. And… other things you look at.

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