Here in Europe we have this amazing cream called Bepanthen that is phenomenal for healing wounds without any resulting scarring. Doesn’t matter how you got the wound, scrape, burn, but if you use Bepanthen on it you absolutely will not scar. I got to thinking that maybe forgiveness is like that cream. If you don’t use it, then the pains of the past will always be raised, pink and itchy in your spirit.
However, forgiveness does not come in a paste. (Oh! Wouldn’t it be great if it did?) We have to sit down with our wounds to heal them, and find it in ourselves to let go of them. I guess that sort of makes us our own Bepanthens. But that is a lot harder than just applying a cream. It means you have to take your healing into your own hands and go through the painful events and people and find a way to wish them all well. There is no external fix for these spiritual wounds.
In high school there was this one girl who made my life a living hell and when she added me as a Facebook friend last year my first thought was, “Why?” and my second thought was, “Bitch!” As I go back and forth about deleting her I think about if I wish her well, and the truth is, I feel nothing for her. I don’t actually care anymore. I don’t think this means I’ve forgiven her, I just can’t be bothered expending any more energy on her. I don’t wish her well, but I don’t wish her bad either. I wonder if apathy is an even more troubling emotion than anger, or if that means that one day I will be able to genuinely want the best things for her future. Maybe she’ll just disappear from my life and that will be that.
Worse than a (silly) high school feud is the gangbanger who murdered a dear friend and left her to die in my arms. At one point I felt that I had forgiven that murderess and her companion, mainly because I knew her life in prison would be unimaginably horrible and I felt sorry for her. But then a couple years ago, around this time, a wave of rage arose in me and I was happy that she had those seven years of pain. I’m glad she’s still in prison and has two more years of pain to add to it. She’ll be there until the day she dies and I am glad for it. As much as I want to forgive her, because forgiving her means I am a good person, I can’t. I hate her and hope she suffers. I revel in her perpetual suffering. She ruined so many lives and took our wonderful Wendy before it was her time. Fuck that gun-toting bitch, I hope she rots.
And then there’s me. Will I ever forgive myself for having survived? That’s a doozy. Nine years after Wendy’s murder and I still feel guilty. I don’t feel I’m doing enough, creating enough, even though intellectually I know Wendy would be so proud of everything I’ve accomplished since her passing.
And then I get to thinking, is it possible that we get to a point with certain wounds that forgiveness is just not possible? The scar is set, it’s always going to be a pressure point, why not focus on something else that is fixable? Or are those particular psychic scars the most important for us to heal? I don’t know, all I know is that I am not going to go there.
Maybe some things just are what they are. People hurt us, and sometimes the wounds stick. Every once in a while they rupture and leak stinging spiritual goo. Sometimes they just disappear almost without our noticing. Every once in a while, all of the above kinds of wounds define our experience as human beings and so we must just let them throb, because they are what fires our passion, our art, they help us appreciate the love we have.
Forgiveness is overrated.