Let's Talk About Forgiveness
'Forgiveness doesn't mean allowing oppression or abuse to continue. Forgiveness is to free yourself by letting go of past wrongs, while taking action to prevent it from happening again in the future' Yasmin Mogahed
Forgiveness is such a wonderful word and action yet very difficult to practice. At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic forgiveness became the word mostly on my mind. I was self-isolating for two weeks which game me plenty of time to think. I enjoyed my solitude but I also craved connections with my family and friends. The Psychologies Life Leap Club set up Coffee Break conversations via Zoom and I hosted on April 10th to explore the topic of forgiveness.
I wanted to discuss the following questions. How do we mend broken ties during this pandemic? How do we find healing through forgiveness? What can we do when the other party refuses to accept a sincere call to be forgiven? The conversation we had on Zoom was interesting, the topic resonated with those who were able to join, sharing their personal experiences.Their input was profound and I felt less alone. I was also left with a broader meaning of forgiveness in different contexts. Sometimes it is better to forgive one’s self rather than seeking to be forgiven over and over.
The month of Ramadan was approaching and one of the essences of Ramadan is forgiveness. Muslims are taught to show mercy on others in hope that the owner of mercy will show us mercy. Every situation is different and requires to be addressed based on the context. My main concern was to mend ties with one of my parents. The concept of kinship is known as Silat’l- Rahim in Arabic, which literally translates as the ties of the womb. This is central in Islam as Muslims are obligated to deal with and treat kinship in the very best manner and ignoring this is seen as a major sin. Thus, the status of parents in Islam is esteem. Islam also teaches us to leave anything or anyone that is abusive and causing pain instead of peace so I felt conflicted. The cycles of grudges are too heavy of a burden to carry. I thought I was over it, done with trying to apologise for something not entirely my fault. However, out of respect for parents I am required to accept that it was all my fault and to continue pleading no matter how long that would take me. This aspect of the situation is mainly cultural expectation, toxic in other words.
The behavioural pattern of this particular parent is nothing new to me or the rest of the family. Some part of me was praying for harmony in some way. I knew things will never be like they were in the past but I was willing to move forward. The grudge presented itself again when my parent contracted the Covid-19 virus and despite this, my reaching out sincerely was met with silence. I had hoped that contracting the virus would be a wakeup call for mending our broken ties. I was scared that they would not survive. I had faith but I was scared of the possibility of death without reconciliation. I felt that on my conscience. All I could do was to pray, breathe and to accept what was and still is.
What I have learnt and accepted is this, some broken ties cannot be mended irrelevant of a pandemic or not. Healing is a process and forgiving myself is the best healing. I cannot control how people perceive me or force them to forgive me. I need to hold onto that olive branch instead of extending it towards the fire to be burnt. I have done my part. My heart holds no malice. I am thriving, maintaining my boundaries and respecting other people’s boundaries. If they should leave this world before me, I will remember to pray for them. I believe the final reconciliation will be in the hands of the Most High.
Love and Light,
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