On Forgiveness

It’s 2023 and I haven’t yet gotten back into juicing. When I first started doing it– in the late summer of last year– it felt like something that other people do; older, holy-adjacent people like my parents, and non-religious people salivating for something to believe in. And also, for people who believe anything to be open to them, for people who don’t often hear the words ‘no’ or ‘can’t’. Three days of green tea with lemon, gallons of water, and four pungent juices a day. The third day is what I’d compare to the feeling of being fairly new to earth; like a baby who has never known the burden of chewing, or the burn of drinking too much coke. When I wake up on the fourth morning, I always feel like I’ve never before sinned. 

It gives me the opportunity to approach things differently; I’ve been flushed out, and left only wanting the most necessary of things. Recently I did something that reminded me of this feeling. 

I was eating pizza– spicy beef, and watching something I knew I wasn’t going to bother finishing, when my sister came into my room all excited. She told me about something she had just done.

“I just forgave everyone, including myself,” she said, “you should try it chub.” (chub is my pet name because my skin is soft)

And then she left. And I said, “I’ll never forgive yourself.”

Then the next day, I listened to the sermon that set my sister on fire in this way. She sent it to me on Whatsapp the night before. Then, when home from the gym, in that little hour I had before work, I gave forgiveness a go. 

I had a huge backlog so it took me three days. This was extending forgiveness to other people. I thought I should start there, considering I’ve never actually forgiven a person a day in my life. I started with the names that made my eyes narrow when I thought of them– from my first primary school right to the job I just left. I used my own narratives– the things I’d accused them of that could be disproven, knowing I’d have to forgive myself later on anyway. I was very thorough– I even forgave people for not being like me. It was important though that I started here, with other people. I remember first finding myself incapable of forgiveness when my first best friend from my first primary school moved out of the area, and told me the day before she was leaving. I tried to forgive her, but I realised I didn’t actually want to. I quickly settled on ‘burying’ instead. I’d let the mud melt away on a rainy day, and choose a person or an incident from the mire. 

“But what if you don’t believe in what you’re saying?” I’d asked my sister.

“You don’t need to believe in what you’re saying,” she said.

Believing yourself capable of forgiveness isn’t really part of it. It’s like being determined to live a life of occurrences— all guided by whether you felt like doing a thing or letting a thing happen. No such life exists. 

“Besides,” she said, “it isn’t about your capability, but God’s.”

Last night, and the night before, I slept for a really long time. I finished my last list of names this morning. I had to test it out, so I’ve been trying to think of the names and incidents that felt like a worm in my brain to see if they still felt parasitic. It’s like gripping sand. It’s like looking at the colour beige. Nothing happens, and I have no choice but to move on from the memory. And then I had to test it out with things that were unfolding in the here and now, things that would call on my ability to let things go. I’ve been frustrated several times since clearing the backlog, for two seconds at a time. It’s like eating something from Mcdonald’s after my juice detox– it’s either the case that I’m physically unable, or, I expel it within the hour. 

Anything I’ve ever said holds nothing over the rewards of forgiveness. The only other thing that is somewhat equal, is that ‘all of the clichés are true.’ 

(image cred: ‘Winter sun’, Mikhail Markianovich Germachev)

Leave a Reply