Despair and Forgiveness
In the Book of Joy, the Pillars of Joy are divided into two groups. Perspective, Humility, Humor, and Acceptance are practices of the mind. Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion, and Generosity are disciplines of the heart. In her book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott says: “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.” And also, “You can either practice being right or practice being kind.”
“It’s so wonderful that we can be distressed. That’s part of the greatness of who we are — that you are distressed about someone who is not family in any conventional way. It’s incredible just how compassionate and generous people can be.”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“Forgiveness does not mean we forget. You should remember the negative thing, but because there is a possibility to develop hatred, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be led in that direction— we choose forgiveness.”
— The Dalai Lama
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that he will make all things right if I surrender to His will. That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen.
Reinhold Niebuhr, 1951