As I wrote the last post I realized I need to discuss forgiveness more. I already mentioned that I felt I would never be forgiven but what about me forgiving them? Immediately as my actions panned out as an error, I forgave the other parties. They were worried of the consequences and in fear. When everything was officially over, I thought they would feel relieved but when I asked, I was perceived, by some, as wanting revenge. My forgiveness face needs some work.
I look back at each individual. I can forgive people for being conflict averse and afraid to speak up. The stakes were high – if you make a mistake, you become shunned. Yet, the lack of push back created an atmosphere of letting problematic behavior continue. I could work on forgiving and talking through to each person (if they would talk to me) and try living there again. But the other half of forgiving is trust. I don’t trust them to speak up next time. I see that I would be the only one problem solving for the issue that is still there.
Forgiveness is such an important part of community living. I could try if I really did want to move back. A lot of me wants to at least have some sort of relationship so I can work with them to rent out and eventually sell my house and not have all this tension. Moving back would take even more work on both sides. Ultimately, I have lost trust so I would have a hard time. In a way it was aa gift. We had a big issue and big reactions and I was shown early on that this community is not the place for me.
If I moved into another intentional community, I would make forgiveness a big part of the experience. I would pick my battles. Let things slide. I would also do what most places market that they do when there is conflict – use it as a means to become closer. If only humans weren’t so damn complicated.
Forgiveness isn’t easy and should never be used to excuse abusive behavior. I think it has been pushed for so many years to keep people in their proper place. I have a friend who says Jesus made a mistake. Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father, for they know what not they do.” My friend claims they did know it was wrong. He doesn’t like to excuse bad behavior. I chuckle that he dares question Jesus!
The most important person to forgive is yourself. I forgive myself for trying. I forgive myself for using the tools that I knew to problem solve. To try to make the community a better place but causing more waves instead. I forgive myself for wanting a loving, caring community to spend the rest of my life. I forgive myself for moving my children and up heaving our lives (once to move there and again to move out). That’s the one that is hardest for me but I recently heard Massy Arias say that if you either succeed in your endeavors or learn from the misstep. I learned a lot and I need to keep forgiving myself and not close off my heart to trying for connection with others, it just might not happen in cohousing for me.