February is the month of Forgiveness

This blog is about time and I want to think about the importance that dates and events have in our lives.  It is half way into February now but I hope not too late to consider the importance of this month.  Indeed, in some ways February could just be the most important month of the year for us.  Consider the following:  February was named after the Latin term Februltus, which means “a righting of wrongs.”  It is a month when we begin looking towards the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  We are now more relaxed since the holidays are long over, but it is usually too cold and wintry to do much outside unless you live in Florida or Arizona or some other warm place.  However, my thermometer says it is 37 degrees outside this morning in Arizona City so that is not exactly warm. With any luck though, it will be in the 60’s by mid-afternoon. 
So what can we do in February?  Well, maybe the idea of “righting wrongs” is a good use of our time. In the 12 Step AA program, one is expected to make a list of the people they have wronged and ask for forgiveness from these people; those friends, relatives or even acquaintances that we have hurt or taken advantage of in some way. We can all think back through the past year or years and think of something we did that hurt someone or something we did that we wished we could correct. Can you think of a better use of an entire month, then to make amends with the people who you have hurt, lost, forgot or even just not talked to in a long time?  There are 29 days this year in February, well only 14 left now.  But what if you picked 14 people that you wanted to ask forgiveness from or apologize to for something you did wrong. 
I will tell you a little story that might apply to many of us.  My ex-wife’s grandmother Rose was one of the nicest people I have ever met.  We spent much time with her on holidays and weekends whenever we could.  She lived and died in St. Paul, MN.  One day we were talking and I asked her if she had any siblings and what had happened to them.  Grandma Rose said “O yes, I have a brother who is about my age.”  I was surprised because she had never mentioned him before.  I asked her where he lived.  I assumed it was far far away and thus provided a barrier to keeping in touch.  She said “He lives on the other side of St. Paul.”  I was shocked.  I asked her why they were not in touch.  She told me that they had a big fight 40 years ago and had never talked since.  This was her only sibling.  Her parents, grandparents and most friends were by now long dead, but she still harbored this grudge against her brother and vice versa it would appear.  They were no more than 10 miles or a phone call away, but it might have been ages and eons for all that the distance mattered.  I was even more stunned but somewhat not surprised that Grandma Rose died several years later and to the best of my knowledge had never reconciled or even talked to her brother.  I suspect that he was not even at her funeral but what would it have mattered if he were?
As I tell this story, I am struck by a sense of sadness and futility.  How can we hold our grudges so long?  What does it do to us as humans and spiritual people?  I doubt if one of you can see any value in harboring grudges, vendettas, feuds or hostilities with others but how many of you have someone you know that you no longer talk to or someone you refuse to acknowledge?  What is the purpose, what is the meaning?
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.— Mahatma Gandhi
Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.—Nelson Mandela when asked why he was not resentful for his imprisonment.
If you have the desire to learn more about forgiveness, go to the following site:   http://www.forgivenessfoundation.org/inspiration/quotes/ You can learn a great deal about forgiving others on this site.  The book How To Forgive When You Can’t: The Breakthrough Guide to Free Your Heart & Mind by Dr. Jim Dincalci is well worth reading.  Each person we carry a grudge against is a festering sore on our own hearts and souls.  There may be people whom it is good to avoid, but forgiveness is more about us than others and taking care of our immortal souls. 
Who do you need to make amends with?  Who could you right a wrong with?  How about starting with one person today and see how it goes? Remember, you only have 14 days left in February so you should start soon.  Think of how much better you will feel.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeanine
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 16:07:36

    Enjoyed this article very much as I prepare my CCD lesson for today to present to my class this afternoon. This is going to be my topic for today!



  2. John Persico
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 04:32:06

    Glad you found it useful. Let me know how they respond to the topic.



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