Geez! This makes me sick. I need to rush to the basin!
Why am I rambling?
I had a recent conversation with a good friend of mine. She (oh, most of them are she’s) was of the opinion that a slight should be forgiven. I was of the opinion that when a pardon wasn’t sought, who or what am I forgiving? She added the following to her opinion: well, not always must a pardon be sought nor must everyone go to Canossa before they are pardoned. In the exclamation of a non-Indian friend of mine “Ooooh weeee” (need to be tony and quick while saying it).
I do not believe that my friend was judgmental about me nor deemed me fit for a JDC (well, I am not juvenile either, so they wouldn’t take me in).
Why do we forgive?
What makes us think we are in a position to pardon anyone?
What makes us think pardoning someone undoes the act itself?
So if the act can never be undone, why forgive?
If we assume that forgiving is essential, then how can I forgive when it is not sought?
Is pardon not something that has to be sought?
Isn’t the basis of the Christian confessional built on “asking and ye shall be given”?
Isn’t the Hindu basis of a “prayaschitta” based on realising and seeking pardon through specifically ordained acts?
I shant go into the schemes of other religions (and we know and see enough), but forgiving world-over seems to be a dialogue. You ask, and you get (rather might get). So why should one forgive whether or not one is requested of it?
If I should pardon always, asked or otherwise, then what is the significance of a pardon?
If I shouldn’t forgive always, then when should I forgive?
Should I forgive only when the pardon sought is grounded on earnestness? Truth? Genuineness? How do I recognise truth, earnestness and/or genuineness?
Is our pardon a recognition of that truth/earnestness/genuineness or what?
Which brings me back to my first question: Why do we forgive?
Before I proceed, I would like to add a clarification. I do not subscribe to the religious tenets of seeking pardon and will detail this in a later post.
I was telling her that I don’t usually forgive because I am not sure it is truly wanted and sometimes because I do not know whether the reasons arrayed as a part of the apology is indeed true. That makes me a bad guy (though she hasn’t said this in words or noticeable gestures!! :-))
So what should one do? I have a standard answer to such questions: Go Figure!
But let me indulge my fingers and my keyboard.
I don’t really think anyone seeks my pardon. No, really. I don’t occupy such a position in anyone’s life. If someone seeks my pardon, I might give it. This is where I am flawed. I do not have a perfect scheme of judging the sincerity in an apology. I usually prefer to forget the incident and go on, and if such things repeat and become intolerable, I quit. Ctrl+C.
Now, do I expect that someone apologise? Yes, if they want me to forgive them, yes. If they don’t want or care about my forgiving them, why should I forgive them? I can’t forgive someone who doesn’t realise her/his mistake and feel sorry about it. It’s like feeding someone who isn’t hungry.
But sometimes, it is quite likely that I see something as wrong and expect them to apologise whereas they wouldn’t have registered their act as something inappropriate. Hmmm. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a situation here.
How does one handle it?
If there isn’t consensus on an act being inappropriate or not, then what should one do?
Beats me. So let me think while I grease my knuckles.
Aah. Grease tastes good!! 🙂
I remember a time way back in kindergarten, when I was placed in the role of some king in a play and like most kids doused in rouge and lipstick. I was a little bored as I had spelt out my dialogues well and sung my song to the right meter, so the teachers were focussing on the other kids. I started eating lipstick. Actually, it was tasty. So I stuck to it. The teachers noticed it and re-applied another fresh coat of paint to make my lips shiny red with matching, though milder, orbs on either side. Wasn’t the earlier coat tasty? Let’s try this one. And the teachers and me kept ourselves busy with this game till they decided to call my parents and tell them that I was eating into their supply of lipstick (literally). I suppose they couldn’t have explained it to their husbands about the fast depleting lipstick stock (I suppose, “a kid ate them”, gets the same response as a hippo blaming the fish for all the bubbles that rise in the water! Uggh!).
Where were we? Aah, knuckle grease. Forgiving. Bad guy. Nice friend. Amen.
What say to the idea that s/he who finds the act unacceptable by some weird book, bound in lizard skin and heavier than the rack which keeps it away from others, lets the other person know about it? Come on, this is an open world and communication, I was told, is the key (to what?). So I am the cranky guy, and I find what you just did, unacceptable, so I tell you. How? By spelling it out, by being cranky (or just being me), by not talking to you, or changing the tone of conversations, etc. So you say what? Well, if you cared about what we have (which might be nothing much), you would say something like, “Really? I never really thought of it like that. Hmmm. Sorry if it offended you. Will be careful”, (which doesn’t mean that you agree with me) or something like “What? Man, you are a gonner. You are so nit-picking. Well, won’t do it if you didn’t like it.” If you didn’t care about what we have (which is fine, BTW) you would cock your head back with the the-milk-just-curdled-in-my-gut look and say, “Hard luck. I disagree.” I suppose other reactions are also possible… 🙂
Thus ends my short treatise on forgiving… Do forgive me if I promised you something dramatic at the outset!