Much a-twitter among political watchers about America presidential pardon power lately. And speculation about who Donald Trump might pardon before leaving office. Highly controversial pardons are typically left to the waning days of lame-duck presidencies.
But that’s not the kind of pardon this column is about …
I was schooled to say, “I beg your pardon” and “Pardon me …” as part of my social graces. That’s not what this article is about either.
These two forms of pardons have been swirling in my mind, two concepts – neither is new. They are wildly different, yet both lack the nuance of forgiveness.
Forgiving someone else, forgiving ourselves, or forgiving anyone; what does that require?
Someone doesn’t need my forgiveness. Nor are they likely to ask it of me. Still, maybe I need to offer it, give it, send it and make it known to someone that I forgive them. Which begs the question of what constitutes something requiring forgiveness?
In most of our lives, I expect that means something that hurt us, or when we’ve hurt someone else, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately with some resolve, but not enough. Writing about this seems to help, but only how a single Aspirin helps a 5-alarm headache – not enough and not of sufficient scale to do much good. Not enough to do much damage either.
The thought-pot gets stirred.
I’ve been taking inventory of the issues/people I have stored up which might be appropriate for a pardon – things said to me, people who said or did something I’ve been unable to release from responsibility in my mind. I recognize I’ve easily dismissed greater slights by lesser people in my life, so getting down to the nitty-gritty, it’s less about ‘the what’ of it than ‘the who’ of it. I’m talking about crimes of indifference or insult, crimes of neglect or alienation, crimes of not touching or not caring – and those are misdemeanors of low order no court would ever hear. Yet I’ve judged people, convicted some in absentia. Not out of spite or mean-spiritedness, but out of pain. I know it. I feel it. I have difficulty with the giving part of forgiveness; I have trouble with the generosity of the pardoning. And I wonder why?
I’m caught between self-pity and self-pardon – and that’s a lonely place; it’s self-isolation and self-defeating amputation of joy.
Burying the spirit of the hurt, and burying the hatchet in a shallow grave – letting bygones be bye-gones.
Good morning Mark, I enjoyed your column today (as every day). The statement “Truth is not partisan.” Correct, however, the interpretation and understanding of that truth is. Regards, ADL, Victoria, BC