One of my other websites quotes this poem from the Anthony Mingella film, Breaking and Entering.
"Forgive, Forget and Eat More Jam," the jar said on the lid.
Dai ate some jam and thought a lot and, in the end, he did
Go home and be a better boy (although, sometimes, it's tricky).
There is a moral to this tale: "Jam makes fingers sticky."
I loved this the first time I heard it and, ever since, I turn it over in my mind a lot. The film it's from is about forgiveness. It's also about love which can lead to forgiveness. The poem touched me, I guess, which is odd.
Because I'm really not the forgiving sort.
I don't know why I'm not; I'm just not. I know, intellectually, that holding on to wrongs done you is toxic. I've done my best over the years to put away the worst of my grudges, those that somehow caused me pain in the maintenance. But that still left a handful of ills that had been directed my way, intentionally, for no other reason than to cause me pain and which, though I don't think of them much anymore, are still never going to be forgiven.
And I can't tell you why. I don't get any boon from these things. I don't give them much or any thought anymore, as I said. Yet, if some person manages to stumble across one of the grudges, say, with a stray innocuous comment over brunch like, "Hey, do you ever see so-and-so much anymore?" I will remember how so-and-so done me wrong, never apologized, never made it right and went on with his or her ugly life none the worse for wear.
And it will stick. Just a bit. Not enough to spoil an afternoon or even a meal, but, just for that moment of remembrance, it will stick and I will think, "That bastard needs to get paid back. Not by me, necessarily (although revenge can be sweet as the poets have said), but by Life." Because, let's face it, the world's bastards mostly don't get paid back. They mostly just win and make a lot of what sucks about Life even worse, just because they can.
I hate those bastards. I hate them in the abstract and I definitely hate them in specific, when it's personal. Hate. Hate them.
Then the moment will pass because that's what moments do. The memory and the attendant grudge will fade and I can go see UP! with my buddies and actually enjoy it.
This handful of grudges is almost inert when you get down to it. I don't nurse them. I don't take them out for secret veiwing while wringing my hands like a James Bond villain. Nor is it, as some other poets would have us beleive, the emotional equivalent of the Death of a Thousand Cuts. They do me no harm. They just sit inside me like pebbles at the bottom of a garden pool.
So, why not let them go? Why not forgive those evil bastards for what they did in my heart if not in reality? Because, I guess, I believe in Balance. You can call it justice if you're being frilly but, really, all it is is a sense of balance being offended by these people and their ugly deeds. Bad people owe for the hurt they put in the world. They just do. There's a lot of that hurt and less and less world to hold it every day. I don't think they get a pass. Not for deeds they intended, not for hurt they consciously meant to cause. I'm sorry. I'm just not a turn-the-other-cheek sort of guy.
What was it Marley's Ghost said? You wear the chains you forge in life?
Damn right you do. And I'm not the one to break them for you.
You got yourself into this, now get yourself out.
So, for me, I can move on and I can, possibly, even forget. But, forgiveness? Let's just say I have a very small store and I only dip into it on very special occassions.
Causes Geoffrey Thorne Supports
Operation USA, Greenpeace, Doctors Without Borders,