Having been ill, I am now recovering. They tell me it will be a long road. So be it. Former students visited me recently and presented me with beautiful flowers. It was not an easy gift to make, where I live is far from where they live. Isn’t love a mysterious thing?
I remind myself again that these wee essays are about new life, the life that rules me after the relatively comfortable old one has changed. And I find myself grateful simply to have it. So to you I say, really enjoy such life as you are in at the moment.
What does that mean? It’s simple actually. It means, keep spreading love, healthy love, around you. You have a husband, a wife? Be sure they know you love them.
You have children – or parents? Be sure they know you love them too. I could repeat that sentence for all your family, it is the meaning of such life as you have – straightforward love.
I have heard youngsters in school and colleagues on teaching staff be quite explicit that this person was simply no longer in their circle of acceptable people. Male, female.
Look, dear readers, I don’t doubt that you have, or had, reason. People do terrible things to one another.
My papers tell me daily of rapes of children and murders of adults for no reason beyond petty difference, and even lust. If that happened to your son/daughter/wife/husband – am I the one to tell you “Forgive them”?
I am the one to tell you, back off. Just that. Back off. Put down the knife, the gun, the weapon. Just that much. The longing to avenge will be very strong – and justified. Note what I am saying: justified.
Ask your God for the strength to be true
But in its weird way, that doesn’t make it ok. Would forgiveness be ok? Oh yes, but the impossible is not my trade. My trade, strange as it may seem, is only love. It takes a long time. But given that time, it works.
So, dear brave reader, give it time, when someone has done to someone dear to you, or to yourself, a deed you find unforgivable.
The very fact of not taking revenge is a huge step forward. How you feel, what you think – unimportant. It’s about doing. And here you are, not taking proactive revenge. Congratulations. Incredibly, this is love.
Our movies have cheapened and falsified this concept, this reality. Oh I’m all for overt love and all the physical that accompanies it, from songs to sex.
But I’m even more for real love, the sort I’m recommending to you now. I have to tell you, I’ve been there.
My own stepmother threw me out of our otherwise empty 13-room house. She didn’t like me, that was it. It hurt. But, miracle of miracles, I’ve come back. We became friends. Took years. That’s where I learned all this.
You don’t have to do anything. In fact you have to do nothing. In its time the day may come for you to miss a chance to take that revenge. You simply bite your lips tighter, and let him or her pass by.
Congratulations, and loud praise. Inside yourself you could ask your God for the strength to be true to this act, to simply forebear to act. Even speak.
God is into that sort of thing. He gave me the strength to talk again to that stepmother. Peacefully.
And that is all I am recommending to you this time round, dear brave readers. Only don’t, don’t, lock yourself into sheer non-forgiving or, less still, active revenge. You will hurt yourself badly. Just steer clear. That is where heroism lies.
Brendan MacCarthaigh is a Christian Brother from Dublin working in India for over 50 years, mostly in Value Education with senior classes and teachers.
Reproduced with permission from La Croix International.