Last week I wrote for VOX about a Good News Crisis in Ireland. The article didn't start out that way; I just wanted to cover the craziness of our local housing market. But as I watched the doc, listened to the news, and chatted with friends, it seemed like bad news was lurking around every corner. Honestly, this week hasn't brought better news for the world we live in.
BUT, today is Good Friday. And I've found just a bit of good news.
First: we've had a team here all week helping Matt with a big project he's been working on for months. The Lenten Labyrinth. Today is actually the final day for this art installation, which has invited people to walk its path, take in beautiful artwork from a half dozen different artists, and reflect on rest and the laying down of burdens. These have been very, very long days for Matt and for the crew joining him this week, and though we're looking forward to a bit of our own rest next week, it's been amazing to see a dream come to fruition and for people to respond to one simple question:
WHAT WOULD YOU LEAVE ON THE TREE TO BE FREE?
This may be its final day (if you're in Dublin, you have till 7pm!), but I've been thinking about this question for weeks. As people have left their own notes behind on the tree Matt built - a tree which rests at the centre of the labyrinth, built with scraps of bruised and broken wood - I've wondered what note I will leave, what burden I would lay down.
For me, for today, that burden is unforgiveness, a bitter boulder weighing down upon my shoulders. Velvet Ashes invited me to write about this topic this week, and I struggled with it long and hard.
Here's the good news: It’s not about forgetting, moving on, sucking up our pride. Forgiveness is the very intentional – often painful, but never wasted – act of releasing the debt someone owes you. It’s balancing the accounts, undigging the knife, letting the wounds close and heal.
And what happens after the skin heals? Oh, it’s shiny and new. Tender, sure, but is that not what we long for? A sensitivity to the pain and injustice of this world?
We don’t have to keep tripping ourselves up, and we don’t have to just get over it and move on. What we need is a bit of that mercy offered for us, and a willingness to pass it on, even to ourselves.
I'd love for you to read it here and comment if you feel so inclined. What does forgiveness really, truly mean, and why is it so freaking hard?