One of the things I love about Tom Carpenter’s new book about REAL FORGIVENESS is the idea of never making anyone wrong. Even pointing out someone’s faults to them, is an attack.
I felt challenged by that this week when I had some painting work done on the French windows of my house. I was not happy about the result. The woodwork remained rough, and I felt the inside needed a second coat of gloss, as well as the outside. I had tried to remark in a helpful way when I first felt concerns, but experienced the man as very passive aggressive. It made me feel intimated to approach him. In the end I realized I was afraid to tell him that I was disappointed.
Remembering Tom’s advice, about not making someone wrong, I felt stuck. When I closed my eyes and thought about it, I actually felt extremely angry and ripped off. However, Tom had also reminded me that if I needed to make him “wrong” it was because I was still judging myself in some way.
I then remembered last weekend. I went with some friends to what I thought was going to be a story telling performance by an Israeli and an Arab, on the theme of peace making. It turned out to be something very different. With the Israeli’s woman’s presentation, again I felt very intense anger. I was irritated and frustrated with her style and content about the Sabbath.
What’s common here is my anger. In both cases, I was judging these people and their actions as not being good enough. And the reason is of course, because I still imagine there is something wrong with me. I am still the one not good enough. When I can truly ACCEPT my wholeness and reality as the Light of the world, I am not going to see anything wrong with anyone else. My wholeness will see them whole and joined with me.
When I examined the woodwork some more, I realized, also that I had neglected the woodwork. It had not been painted for seven years! I was also projecting my guilt and irritation with myself, for letting it go, on to the painter.
He came just now to be paid. Here’s the rub…I had spent most of the day preparing myself for this moment. We did have a peaceful exchange. I did point out some problems, like the wet rot he had just painted over, and the roughness of the wood, and he gave his point of view. In the end, he asked, are you going to pay me? And I did.
But I feel kind of dissatisfied with the outcome, which is that I would never employ him again, and I am still not happy with the result. I have got a quotation from another painter to make good his work, and I am feeling bad that I did not take care of my wooden window frames all these years.
So, this moment, I realize, is an opportunity to forgive myself again! To choose to reside in the place in me that IS whole, cannot rot or weather or disintegrate however much it gets neglected and ignored. And as I write those words, I know it’s true, because suddenly I can feel it ~ a wonderful radiant energy pouring forth from my heart, and filling me. And it’s always been there, and always IS, finally accepted by me, ignored no more. And the final step is gratitude to the painter and the Israeli lady, and who ever else shows up in my life, however many times, to show me myself and what still wants to be healed.