Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Best friends forever

Very weird dream last night. It involved a friend from my youth. She and I were seeing each other again after 22 years and trying to catch up while getting lost driving to the church I attended as a child. We wound up in the Chicago Loop, which had turned into a huge Disney store.

To me, if you can believe it, this was all about regret. This friend and I had had a falling out right after her divorce and before mine, when I was still in my self-righteous phase. Not a good phase to be in when a friend’s going through tough times. My attempt at support was along the lines of: “I told you he was a jerk.” So she stopped communicating with me, probably in self-defense. I’ve tried a couple times in the intervening years to be in touch, to no avail.

Regret. The things in our human lives we really can’t fix. Sometimes it can weigh heavy. And to know that someone still hasn’t forgiven you and probably never will is humbling, even when you spend your days now trying to help others.

I have a few such things in my past, where I did damage to people that didn’t deserve it. And it’s occurring to me today that maybe there is something I can do about it.

First, I suppose I have to forgive myself. Sometimes I hang onto my mistakes as a sort of penance, continuing to punish myself for them to be sure I’ve learned my lesson thoroughly. But there’s a point where you need to say, I’ve learned enough. I’m actually not that person anymore, I’m not capable of inflicting that kind of hurt anymore. Not that I still don’t make mistakes—I certainly do. But I did learn from the prior zingers and know better now in those areas. For example, now, when a friend is going though a break-up or a tough time, I listen.

Second, if I’m feeling regret for hurt I caused to someone, I can pray for them. This is just occurring to me this morning. I may never see my friend again, but I can pray for her. Not to change her life or influence her in any way, but to hope for her happiness and success. To hold her in the arms of divine Love, knowing that she has the love that I wasn’t able to show her. That she’s never been abandoned or hurt. That God is her husband, even as He has been mine all these years.

And third, of course, is to live correctly now. To see and circumvent the hurt my failings might be causing today, to ameliorate it by expressing self-knowledge and love. I’m much quicker to apologize these days than I was as a youth, not only because I feel responsible for my mistakes but because I know too well the taste of regret for goodness left undone.

Yet I’ve also grown in the understanding that my mistakes are not the final word on my true identity. My spiritual selfhood doesn’t make mistakes, because it’s the emanation of the One who is mistake-free, perfect, holy. This mortal seeming that is capable of making mistakes isn’t permanent. Mistakes and their aftereffects can be like water off a duck’s back—no cause, no effect. It’s from this basis that I try to make up for what I’ve done, honestly facing human errors while developing a deeper understanding of spiritual truth.

Today I’m praying for my friend, and others in my past for whom I wish I’d been a better friend. I’ll be their best friend today, in Spirit.


Divine Love corrects and governs man. Men may pardon, but this divine Principle alone reforms the sinner. God is not separate from the wisdom He bestows. The talents He gives we must improve. Calling on Him to forgive our work badly done or left undone, implies the vain supposition that we have nothing to do but to ask pardon, and that afterwards we shall be free to repeat the offence.

To cause suffering as the result of sin, is the means of destroying sin. Every supposed pleasure in sin will furnish more than its equivalent of pain, until belief in material life and sin is destroyed. To reach heaven, the harmony of being, we must understand the divine Principle of being.

"God is Love." More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go.


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