Monday, March 24, 2008


I went on a walk today with a friend that suggested I bring a flashlight with me. The amazing part is I did. Brought a flashlight. Didn't even ask the friend, "Now, why on God's green earth would I need a flashlight to go on a walk in broad

I trusted the friend. "Bring a flashlight," she said.

I brought a flashlight.

I trusted her.

Now, it's TOTALLY open to debate whether or not walking inside train tunnels is wise, or trusting that a person that suggests such things is well, trustworthy, but I do. I trust her.

"Forgive them, for they know not what they do," the Bible tells us Jesus said of his executors.

Forgiveness. That's even harder than trust.

If we believe that everyone is just plugging along, doing their best, regardless of what we think about that "best," it's a bit easier to forgive them, for they know not what they do.

What, then, do we do with them after we forgive them? Trust them? Sign right up for another round with them? Walk away? Keep our distance? Make them prove to us they've changed? What is the fair and kind thing to do? And to whom, is it fair and/or kind? To them? To ourselves?

In the last several days I've had several of these types of conversations. Several different theories on the matter have been shared. One theory we all seem to share is that forgiveness and trust are two really important things to have the capacity for, but really hard to have in your heart, especially towards those with whom we at one time had them, and no longer do.

Once you've forgiven a person and they "sin against you" again, or you trust someone and they behave in such a way that you lose that trust, what then?

The Buddhists say the cause of suffering is attachment, and therefore the cessation of suffering is detachment. This makes sense to me, intellectually, but emotionally? So. Hard. To. Do. Detach? I think I'd have an easier time detaching a limb from my body than my emotional attachment to people in my life.

I trust that I can do it, though, and that gives me enough light at the end of my personal, emotional tunnel, that I think I can make it from here.


Anonymous said...

This is a touch one for me. I have worked so hard on this throughout the years, as I have "tried" to grow and mature. I use to do emotional cut offs, but that was more of communication problem. You hurt me or I'm mad, I am cutting you out of my life. Instead of just talking. I'm proud to say, I've grown so much in this area.

Now as far as what your talking about, I honestly believe forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, you let go of the hurt and pain, let the compassion in and forgive. You take a risk if you decide if you can truly trust the other person again. It is a tough, painful call and sometimes detachment is the only way. We can't control or change the other person, only be honest with them and ourself. From there, we have to make the choice. You will be OK, promise.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Ah...the eternal question. What is forgiveness?
If I have forgiven in my heart and my soul, does that mean I have to let that person back into my life in order to complete the forgiveness cycle? Do forgiveness and trust need to go hand in hand?
I think not always. I agree with Eileen that you take a risk when you trust -- sometimes, the risk is not warrented.
This is a timely post for me as I struggle with this issue. It has helped me to clarify my reasoning as to why I have chosen not to let someone back into my life although
I have forgiven her.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This must be some kind of friend that really trusts you to join her on a journey into the dark, confident that you'll emerge together in the light. Did you experience doubt in her while you were together, did she offer you another route to take back? Do you trust/forgive her for the experience? Was it enlightening? Trust/forgiveness two issues that will always be a part of our journey whether we're in broad daylight or magical midnight.

La La said...

I love this one. I so needed it today as I have been in such a state of sorting through a lot of trust and detachment and forgiveness issues. I get so attached to people!

I've been asked to fly to Austin to speak at the memorial service of a friend of mine who betrayed me many years ago.

The anger in my heart dissipated long ago, but I wasn't ever able to trust her again.

Deconstructing it all now is hard work.

I'm in the learning business right now -- sorting out what her death's lessons are for me in this moment of time.

lo said...

Forgiveness in itself is an act. No further action is required.
I think that sometimes forgiveness and a renewal go hand in hand but often they don't. Sometimes to 'keep' the forgiveness, it just has to be forgiveness-no strings attached.

Amber said...

And there are levels of detachment. That actually makes it easier, I have found. Because to think about totally detaching all at once, may be just too much to take in. I have developed over years, a certain emotional detachment from my parents, and the crazy lives they live. MOST of the time I can step back and out, not feel an emotional pull all wrapped up in their stuff. It relief. Like weight lifted right off my chest.

One way to do this, I think, is to get really real with yourself about what your pay off is for holding on. For me, it was getting to feel like a saint and a hero. That was who I thought I was, and if I gave up that role, let go of my anger, stopped holding on to the blaime and pain...then who was I?? Did I need that role, more than the other person really needed me in their lives?

I would ask yourself why you would want to hold on? What would be hard about detaching? What would that mean about you, in your mind? Once you know and understand that, the answer will seem clear.

But detach or not, I think once someone has shown you who they really are, it is always best to believe them. I think you have a sacred duty to protect yourself from hurtful people. Life is too short.

oxox :)

Terry Whitaker said...

Everyone here at something important to add. And I agree--forgiveness is something you do as a gift to yourself, so you don't have to carry the burden of regret. To me, it doesn't mean you need to trust again.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I think the problem is putting trust in another person.

We have to trust in the Divine.

With that, I need to trust that I am okay, no matter what anyone else is or isn't doing.