I had a really good talk last night with a friend and a mentor about self-forgiveness and just how hard a thing it is to accomplish. And how the lack of ability to forgive oneself for what we perceive as our failures and our errors in judgement makes it so difficult to take the next step that lies ahead of us.
And then this morning, as I continued my reading of Sr. Joan Chittister’s book, The Liturgical Year, this current of thinking that seems to be consuming me at this time continued, as I read about the dueling dual nature of our human state: at one extreme, we are dust or even worse, the worms that live in the dust, and therefore, there is no beauty in our humanity. Or, if we live at the other extreme, we live in a place of arrogance, fueled by our belief in the magnificence of our humanity — beautiful, intelligent, wise creatures who can conquer every obstacle and create all manner of magnificence, all through our own cunning and glory. At the first extreme, we have no need of God because, well, God couldn’t possibly have any use for us, poor creatures that we are. At the second extreme, we have no need of God, because, well, to put it bluntly, we have usurped God’s role in the universal order of things.
These two natures, constantly fighting, constantly seeking dominance in our existence, they are our humanity. And when we refuse to forgive ourselves, we acknowledge only part of our nature. And, when we refuse to acknowledge our mistakes and our mishaps, again, we acknowledge only part of our nature.
But, when these two pieces of our humanity stop fighting, and acknowledge the presence of God in this equation, we are suddenly lifted up and offered a glimpse of our truest nature: neither failure nor king, neither dirt nor light, we are as we were created, flawed but ever growing, ever questing creatures. And, if the God of all the Universe can forgive, or more accurately, ignore our failings and offer us love and peace, who are we to punish ourselves because of some decision that, in retrospect, we feel could have been made more accurately?
Our truest nature embraces all these things and more. If, we will just listen…