Yesterday, while walking in a public building, my eyes glanced to a monitor on the wall. It was displaying a saying by Norman Cousins and I stopped to make sure I “absorbed” the message. The saying, “Life is an adventure in forgiveness,” raised my spirits. Isn’t it wonderful to think that we humans really and truly spend time forgiving each other. Or is that pure naivetï¿½ speaking. I’m After Fifty, after all. In reality, it’s tough to forgive, tough to move on, tough not to lash out. But after a few minutes, I concluded that it’s even tougher to NOT to forgive, NOT to move on, and lashing out??? No one is a better person when that happens.
So here’s my adaptation of Mr. Cousins’ wonderful saying: It’s a good life that is spent forgiving.
I moved on with my day but toward early evening I got a call. A considerably younger female friend was on the other end, and while she tried to muffle her sobs, you could tell her heart was breaking. She and her significant other had a falling out – more serious than any she had ever experienced. Now over the previous month this couple had experienced great personal trauma as well as professional devastation. No wonder nerves were frazzled and edgy. “My dear,” I said, “forget the ‘I said, he said’ stuff. Remember one thing. You are in a partnership. This individual is your most significant partner. You need to treat him like fine china, like shining crystal. And let him know that since you are partners, you look forward to him treating you the same way.” And then, Norman Cousin’s saying popped into my head. “Life is indeed an adventure in forgiveness. So forgive him. And move on. Remember, you’ve both had a very difficult time recently. And you need to be very gently with each other. You are both healing. So part of that healing process – forgive the foolishness. It was just a blip on the screen of life.”
Almost 36 hours later she called to offer thanks for the advice. Things were significantly better. “Don’t thank me,” I said. “Thank yourself. Thank yourself for being open to forgiveness. And oh, Norman Cousins – give him a pat on the back!”