As a Fragrance That Infuses Our Senses

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet
sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” [1]

There is no rationale for forgiveness.
It violates every norm of self-justification.
Eludes retribution.
Levels knee-jerk responses.

Hollowing out preconceived ideas of right and wrong,
it challenges exaggeration,
dispenses with easy answers,
daring to move into dimensions of ourselves we’d prefer to forget.

Forgiveness neither insists on its own way
nor does it condemn the path that others choose to take.
Instead, it creates what may not have existed previously:
the willingness to let go of grudges’ satisfaction
while knowing that what you’re undertaking may not be understood.

Yet you are not left empty-handed.
Nor does the bereavement that had held you tight in its clasp last.
Rather, having chosen a different way and
a new frame of reference…

A spaciousness emerges,
and the violet within that had given up its fragrance,
now flourishes, infusing your senses.
And what had been only loss and even humiliation,
can become a place of freedom and newfound joy.

[1] Mark Twain

Author: Jessica McArdle

These are dark and corrosive times. As a writer and ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, I use prayer, poetry, reflection, and scripture to re-align our embattled spirits with the uniqueness and urgency of our God-given identity and call.

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