Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Forgiving injury

And following up again :) on the forgiveness topic, sparked by this comment from Rev. Veronika:

Isn't forgiveness not buying into the illusion of what mortal mind claims is true? Isn't it remembering the Truth for everybody and everything?
Peace, Veronika

She's really summed up how it is I can actually forgive! It's realizing there was no injury to begin with.

This reminds me of a time when my son was in kindergarten. He attended a birthday party at one of those kids' party places in LA, complete with jungle gyms, mazes, arcade games, and a big room for lunch and cake.

I dropped him off to do some shopping, and came back a couple hours later—to panicked employees and anxious other moms. (This was before the advent of ubiquitous cell phones.)

Apparently one of the college-aged employees had been goofing around with my son after lunch. They were playing with the self-drying soap dispenser (which looked like a gun), and the employee squirted it right at my son. The soap got into one of his eyes. Not pleasant for my boy. I'd never seen him in so much pain. He couldn't open the eye, and any amount of light made him shriek.

The party hostess hovered and I could see the owner had visions of lawsuits flashing through her head. I needed some time to think, so I asked everyone to leave the two of us alone in a darkened room.

As I held him, sang to him and comforted him, my thoughts raced. I realized I had a choice. I could get angry and assign blame, possibly holding the establishment responsible. Or, I could address the situation calmly with love.

Even I was surprised at the "love" option. How could I love when my son had been hurt?

As I wrestled with this, I asked him what hymn from church he wanted to hear, thinking already of which one I wanted to sing. But he picked another one, "Shepherd, Show Me How to Go." I said, No honey, this other one would be better, but he remained firm. So I started singing that one, using the time with the memorized lyrics to continue to pray.

I went back to my core beliefs:
  1. There is a God who created all of us.
  2. We're created in the image of that God, perfect, invulnerable.
  3. This inherent invulnerability guaranteed that my son would be—in fact, already was—fine.

I became convinced that my son had never been outside of God's care, no matter what I was seeing and hearing. God, Love, blanketed my son in protection by the very nature of the creation God has made—perfect, harmless.

I also thought about the worker who had caused the accident. Wasn't he a child of God, too? Perfect, blameless, harmless? With a perfect God and a perfect creation, including these two perfect children, there could be no injury.

And I was startled by another conclusion: with no injury, there could be no blame. I let go of the blame I was feeling, and felt a calm come over me.

The hymn I was singing came to a close, and the final words suddenly hit me: "White as wool, ere they depart / Shepherd, wash them clean."

That touched me. My little son had picked just the right hymn, and the sense of his being washed clean of this problem infused me.

Reassured on a deeper level that all was well, we came out from the darkened room and went home. His dad came over later with some saline solution to bathe the eye. I continued to pray for my boy most of the night, since he woke up many times in pain. But always the pain eased. His tears began to flow more normally.

The next morning while he was getting breakfast (Mom still snuggled in bed), I heard him shout, "I'm better!" He could open his eyes, and the redness went away by the next day. I called the party place to let them know he was fine, and the owner told me that they were looking again at their training and safety standards.

So yes, Veronika's point is well taken. Seeing spiritually that there is no injury enables everyone concerned to forgive, and also to not have to live with the effects of injury. Not always easy when the situation is more grave or more far-reaching, and taking the appropriate steps allowed by our legal system when the case warrants it is important for helping ensure mistakes don't happen again. Yet it's a start, a beginning, to lessening the hurts of the world.

A thought on accidents

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 9/29/2005 03:01:00 AM, Blogger ENS said...

Great topic! I've really never thought about forgiveness is that way. Very enlightening.... You are very cleaver in way you handled the situation by singing to stall while you continued to pray. I'm so blessed that you found me too! :-) Take care.



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