Posted September 17th, 2016
Each one of us has a past
In The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World, Archbishop Desmond Tutu quotes comedian Lily Tomlin who once said, "Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past." When I first read it, I'll admit it stopped me in my tracks. The more I thought about it, though, the more I came to see how right on target Tomlin is.
Each and every one of us has a past. Sitting in a mandatory clergy boundary training workshop this past week, the facilitator reminded us all that no one gets to adulthood without a past. Some of us may have more baggage than others. Some of our stories may be more complicated, painful or tragic than others. Some of us may have spent more time processing our pasts than others. But, each one of us has a past and those pasts have helped to shape and mold us into the people we are today.
When we enter onto the path of forgiveness, we do give up hope for a better past. Nothing we can do today will ever change what happened yesterday. Forgiveness, however, allows us to hope for a better today, and tomorrow, and day after that, too. When we tell our stories, no longer bottling them up inside us, we begin down that path of healing ourselves and our world through forgiveness.
As we seek to engage in the path of forgiveness together, I encourage you to find ways to share your story. We have a wonderful group of Stephen Ministers who would be happy to walk with you for a time and listen to your story. The vicars (we have two now!) and I are always here to listen as well. I have a great network of counselors to whom I can refer, if needed. So, find a way to share your story as we walk this path together.