Musing on Forgiveness

“I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.”
~~~Anne Lamott, Small Victories

When I read that sentence, the image was so vivid, I laughed out loud. And I thought, she must be thinking some really, really awful things. I’ve been (slowly) reading Small Victories and this is in the chapter titled “Forgiveness”. Anne had perceived that the mom of her son’s friend didn’t quite approve of her. The mom was trim (always wearing bicycle shorts), consistently on top of the school schedule and activities, and was an accomplished baker. Anne, on the other hand, never worked out, consistently forgot to pick up her kid on the day school let out early, and could not and would not bake. Anne hated this mom. But, on a quest to forgive the people she hated, had decided to begin with this woman, whom she’d only hated for a short time. You know, to kind of ease into the Forgiveness game. The story she tells is written with skill and a mixture of self-deprecating humor and resentment. In the end, she says,

And I finally got it.

The veil dropped. I got that I am as mad as a hatter. I saw that I was the one worried that my child wasn’t doing well enough in school. That I was the one who thought I was out of shape. And that I was trying to get her to carry all this for me because it hurt too much to carry it myself. “

So it made me start thinking about hate, why we hate, and reasons why we should let that crap go and forgive. I think, for most people in most situations, hate hurts the hater way more than the recipient. I can honestly say there’s no one I hate. There are people I don’t like, that I avoid, that I’ve deleted from my life, but I don’t hate them. Hate uses a lot of energy and I won’t allow anyone to take up that much of my energy or my time. It’s my nature, though, to move on and leave toxic people and disturbing situations behind me. I simply forget about them. You know, a lot of bad happens in a lifetime and a lot of good happens. I want to minimize the bad and grow the good.

Anyway, this was only the third chapter in the book and I’m looking forward to reading the rest. Anne writes with thoughtfulness and zest. You feel it in the words she uses, in the turn of a phrase, in her writing style. It’s like she’s chatting with you at the breakfast table over coffee. That’s really a valued gift for a writer. I can already recommend the book!

PS- Anne has a great Twitter feed, too.

9 thoughts on “Musing on Forgiveness

  1. Such a good post. You made me smile which is hard to do, what with struggling breast cancer surgery recovery, and the shock of learning I actually have breast cancer not quite two months ago, and all…

    I’m a huge fan of Anne Lamott. I discovered her in the late 90s when I was house sitting in Mendocino, California. They had “Bird by Bird” on their bedside table. I fell in love. I’ve been reading her ever since. Her Facebook posts are good too, even though, more and more, I find it so draining to be on Facebook. However, I had missed this one. So I just bought it.

    I’m, not surprisingly, doing quite a lot of re-evaluation of my life and my beliefs and preconceived ideas. I liked what you had to say here. I don’t hate anyone either. Although, there are a view people I avoid like I would a rabid dog. However, I have been overly concerned about what people think from a place of fear. Your words were very enlightening. I will be pondering them for some time. Thank you for sharing them.

    Wishing you a magical day in all its glory.
    Robin x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robin, you’ve made my day! I’m so happy if my little blurb has helped you in some way. You’ve certainly had, and still have, a challenging journey. I think we all benefit from stories like Anne’s in this book. We are only human with human frailties but we can try to be the best human we can be. I wish you well in your recovery. All blessings to you!


  3. Thank you! I didn’t know about this book. Love Anne Lamott. If you haven’t read Tama Kieves yet, she has a lot of that same voice…try her latest, Thriving Through Uncertainty. Love all her books but this one speaks to me big time this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HI Charlotte! I am especially interested in the fact that you say you are “slowly” reading *Small Victories.* Yes. Because it takes a lot of juice to digest hard core, honest writing that tells the truth about being human. Thankfully, Ms. Lamott does this with a ginormous sense of humor that works.

    I don’t think I got the term from the title of this book, but I’ve been using it for years: small victories. Like finally finding the jig-saw puzzle piece that fits. I always think I want to work one of those damn things and buy one in the middle of winter because I have a romantic notion of myself and my family bonding together over this meaningless cardboard image Norman Rockwell style but I can never finish them, because I’m not really that patient so finding a piece, any piece of it that fits another piece is indeed a small victory!

    Or like having a five minute long real conversation with say, my hubby or my son, or anyone really anymore without a cell phone between us.

    I could go on…but you get my drift. Small victories. They COUNT!

    Thanks for sharing this and for stopping by #formidableWoman …ciao! ciao!

    Liked by 1 person

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