First and foremost remember, forgiveness is not something you are doing for the benefit of your friend, but for your own benefit. You cannot forget. Deep memories are never lost, but you can forgive.
Change the feeling associated to the incident and the person in that incident. By doing so you continue to have a memory‐recall of that incident, but you will never have an emotional‐ reliving of the incident. The scars will remain, but the injury would be gone.
That’s why Gautama Buddha said. “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love, this is the eternal rule.” As long as I don’t change the feelings associated to the incident and the person involved in that incident that caused me hurt, I will continue to relive the same emotions.
Recall and relive the hundred special moments between the two of you, instead of the ten disturbing moments. Don’t let the thorns blind you of the roses.
There was a couple‐ Edith and Carl Taylor. They loved each other with no ordinary love. They were not rich in the wealth of the world. But because of the love her husband showered upon her, Edith regarded herself as the luckiest women in town.
She and Carl had been married for 23 years, but it appeared as though they were newly married. Her heart still skipped a beat when Carl walked into the room. Carl too, loved his wife. Whenever his work took him out of town, he would write a love letter to Edith every night. He sent her a small gift from every place he visited. In February 1950, the Government sent Carl to Okinawa for a few months to work in a new warehouse. Carl worked in the Government Warehousing Department.
This time there were no daily letter and no gift. Each time Edith enquired why Carl had been away for so long, he would write that he would have to stay another month or two. A year passed, but Carl did not return,his letters became less frequent and more formal and love was missing in them.
Then, after weeks of silence, a letter came, “Dear Edith, I wish there was a kinder way to tell you that I have applied to Mexico for a divorce. I want to marry a Japanese women whom I love. Aiko is her name. She is a maid who has served me so well.”
The first reaction was shock, then fury. Should she fight that quick paper‐divorce? She hated her husband and that women for having shattered her life. Hurt had led to hate and hate burnt within her.
But the grace of God descended on Edith. Soon she arrived at the stage of healing. She tried not to judge her husband, but to understand his situation. He was a lonely man. His heart was full of love. Aiko was a penniless girl. Under these circumstances, it was so easy for a man and women to come together. And Carl had not done a shameful thing. He had chosen the way of divorce rather than take advantage of a young servant girl, Aiko who was 19; and Edith wrote to Carl, asking him to keep in touch with her, to write to her from time to time, giving her all the news.
One day, Carl wrote that he and Aiko were expecting a baby. She was born in 1951. She was named Marie. Then in 1953, another girl was born, Helen. Edith sent gift to the little girls.
Carl and Edith continued to write to each other.
Edith had no interest in life. She just existed. She worked in a factory and earned a livelihood. She hoped that Carl would someday come back to her.
One day, she got a letter that Carl was dying of lung cancer. Carl’s last letters were full of fear, not for himself but for Aiko and the two little girls. What would become of them? His entire sayings were spent on paying hospital bills. He would die a penniless man. It cost Edith a tremendous effort to take the decision. She loved Carl. What was there she could not do for the sake of that love! She wrote to Carl that if Aiko was willing, she would adopt Marie and Helen as her children. Edith realized that she would adopt Marie and Helen as her children. Edith realized that it would be hard, at the age of 54, to be a mother of two little children. “I shall do it for the sake of Carl,” she decided.
Carl died. Edith looked after Marie and Helen. It was a hard job. She worked harder to earn a little more to feed the two extra mouths. She became ill, but she kept working because she was afraid of losing a day’s salary. At the factory, one day, she fainted.
She was in the hospital for two weeks with pneumonia. There, in the hospital bed, her thoughts went out to Aiko. How lonely she must feel with her husband dead and her daughters away from her, in a foreign land. What must be Aiko’s condition?
Edith took the final step on the path of forgiveness. The mother must come and be with the children. But there was the immigration problem. Aiko was a Japanese citizen. And the immigration quota had a waiting list of many years long.
Edith wrote to an editor of a paper who described the situation in his newspaper. Petition were started. A special bill was speeded through the Congress and, in August 1957, Aiko was permitted to enter the United States.
As the plane arrived in New York’s International Airport, Edith had a moment of fear. What if she should hate the women who had taken Carl away from her? Aiko was the last passenger to leave the plane. She did not come down the stairs. she clutched the railing and stood there. Edith realized how panicky Aiko felt. Edith summoned up sufficient strength and called Aiko’s name, and the girl rushed down the steps and into Edith’s arms. In that brief moment,as they held each other, Edith prayed, “God,help me to love this girl as if she was a part of Carl come home. I prayed for him to come back. Now he is in his two little daughters and in the gentle girl that he loved. Help me, God, to know that!”
Before Edith died, she repeated the words she used to utter when she and Carl lived to utter when she and Carl lived together, “I am the luckiest women in town!”
Forgiveness is an act of will which we have to carry out consciously and deliberately.