Fumbling Toward Forgiveness
- By Jessica Schaffer
The ancient Hawaiians believed that each individual is born with a beautiful, golden bowl of light inside. This bowl glows brightly, reflecting the love that is one’s core essence.
Then we grow up and encounter challenges along the way. We make mistakes. We suffer. And gradually our bowls fill up with stones. Pretty soon, there are so many stones inside our bowls that we can no longer see their radiant, golden glow.
In teaching the children, the elders hold up a bowl heaped with stones and ask the young ones what a person can do to resolve this dilemma. One by one and without hesitation, each child cries out, “Turn over the bowl. Dump out the stones!” Then the elders smile, lift the bowl overhead and slowly turn it over. As the stones tumble to the ground they say, “That is forgiveness.”
How many times has life filled your bowl with stones? Are there ways in which you can challenge yourself to turn the bowl over and release its contents? Or are you attached to the precious stones that rest inside the bowl? There are no answers. There is no judgment. There is only a budding awareness of where you are ready to let go and where you are not.
Sometime forgiveness happens in one swift and fluid motion as if turning the bowl over. Yet more often it is a practice that unfolds over time. We falter and fumble our way towards forgiveness. But if we are able to look honestly at our stones, even explore them with curiosity, we do ourselves a great service. Because one day when we have admired and studied those stones long enough, we just may be ready to let them go…