Forgiveness is not about agreeing that the person you are forgiving was in the right for whatever they did or for whatever happened.  You forgive, yes, but you are not required to ever forget.  You forgive so you can let go of that extra baggage you carry around due to whatever happened.

Sometimes I have to return to a lesson over and over…learning to forgive someone who is no longer a pertinent part of your life is much easier (for me anyway) than it is to forgive someone who is in your life, in your face, on an almost daily basis, someone from whom you cannot escape, and someone who continuously does those things for which you are trying to forgive them…

Know what I mean?

The a**hole you used to live with, but haven’t seen nor heard from in a year, is far easier to forgive, to let go of all the anger and resentment and hurt that built up for who knows how long…once that person is gone, and you know you never have to see or hear from them again, forgiveness is a sigh of relief.  It is a burden easy to put down, even if figuring out how to put that down is takes some pondering.

But…what if that a**hole is right there, in your face, every single day…and every day, the same old same old happens, even though you’ve mentioned it, even though you’ve talked about it, even though you’ve ranted–you’ve begged–you’ve threatened–you’ve prayed…that behavior is still center stage … and you have this huge insurmountable wall that is weighing you down … you try as hard as you can to be the better person, to deal with it humanely and compassionately, but … what exactly do you have to do, what do you have to give, to give up, for some peace and quiet and calm?

My shoulders have been bent.  My back is struggling to simply not buckle and break completely.  And yet, the weight is mine to bear.  It’s obvious the other person enjoys being…an a**hole, if you like…and it is obvious the other person has no desire–or no ability–to change–or maybe you are talking until you are blue in the face –and that person hears something completely different and has no idea they are at fault.  Whatever the reason …

I found myself in this position–and I had to find a way to release all this built-up … bull puckey…

So–I do what I am learning to do…

I picked up my art journal (yep, the one called Ocean)…and I pulled out a series of water-soluble colored pencils…and I went to town–I vented…I raged…I poured my heart out–I bled every drip, every drop of anger, pain, hurt, discouragement, negativity, every little everything–out onto that page…or those pages, since there were two in the spread…but anyway…

Then, I started in with some water and some paint…and I kept adding layers of paint…until I found some way too thick (old) yellow paint…and I put too much on before I realized it was thick and old…so I used some old dictionary pages I had to hand to pull some of that paint off…I use these dictionary pages all the time as collage material…in one spot–the dictionary page decided to stay–instead of fighting it…I went with it.

I drew in my girl…I used gesso to flesh out her face and draw the charcoal (that I used to draw her) into the shadows and move that around.

Then…there was paint…and working things out through the paint.

I added words…in grey gel pen…so that even in person it is almost not visible:

“Forgiveness does not mean absolving them from their sin.”



I can see doing this sort of work a lot more…and I can see doing this same sort of spread, resolving to forgive–never to absolve–over and over and over…until something else gives and the necessity for doing it … resolves itself…


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Tabitha Low

Writer, Artist, Journey Creatrix