Forgiveness and Gratitude

This past weekend, I was reminded about the significance of forgiveness and gratitude in my life.   Saturday night, I attended Rob Lutes‘ launch of his new CD Walk in the Dark.  Among the pieces he and his musicians performed was a short catchy tune called Better Past, inspired by the saying: “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.”   And on Sunday, he played it for us during the service in which Gabor spoke to us about “Religion and Happiness.”

It seemed apropos to me as an important part of the message I got from Gabor‘s talk was the gratitude we feel from being part of the Unitarian Universalist movement. I share his feeling that joining this UU community was a really big plus in my life, something that has upped the dose of happiness in my own life.

It seems to me that too much of my life has been spent in thinking about what went wrong or is inadequate in my life.  Forgiving others and myself is important to letting go of the baggage that weighs me down.  So the apparently paradoxical saying about forgiveness meaning jettisoning hope of a better past makes much sense.

This letting go or forgiving frees up internal space for appreciating what I have.  With age, with friends and family confronting illness and death, I savour more simply the good things of life. I visited a friend in the hospital Sunday afternoon.  I am not sure any more that he will ever be able to leave the hospital, to go home. He is confused and cannot manage by himself.  Then, I walk out of the hospital, free as a bird, to go to my home   … or wherever I like.  How not to have gratitude for what I am still capable of doing.

– Christopher Thomson, 2017-10-16