Forgiveness {Just Write}


This morning I prayed. I cannot remember the last time I started my morning out doing that. It’s been years, most likely. I have spent a decade now selfishly withholding my faith, because there’s still a part of me that believes I am punishing the universe by refusing it. It’s incredibly childish. I am doing the spiritual equivalent of bashing myself with a stick repeatedly to punish what I believe is an uncaring power. This is stupid; if it’s so uncaring, it couldn’t possibly give a shit about me hitting myself.

All I’m doing is causing bruises and adding to my pain.

That all sounds very negative, but the truth is, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m actually doing some stuff to take care of myself these days, and it’s so unusual and so pleasant that I don’t know what to do with myself, actually. Self care? What the fuck is that?

Yesterday here it snowed once again, and yes, it snows in March sometimes but I can’t stop shaking my fist at the sky and yelling THIS IS SO FUCKING UNFAIR BECAUSE I WALKED AROUND IN A T-SHIRT ON SATURDAY. It will warm up again but we have a few more weeks of lower than average temperatures and yet another cloudy and gray day and I am tired enough of winter and weather and dark skies that my friend’s little house in Tucson he’s got for rent cheap sounds more and more appealing, even though living in Tucson would be hard for this Liberal East Coast Elite.

No, really, I promise that I’m generally happy.

This morning I was thinking about forgiveness and practicing it and how I feel best when I’m practicing forgiveness but I think I’m going to get cut from the forgiveness team because I keep falling apart during the practicing part. I’ve long known that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, not the person or people you are forgiving, but these days I hold on to my petty grudges with greedy little fingers, unwilling to peel them off and release them.

That is not a good way to live.

Lately I’ve been reading some poetry – Tell Me by Kim Addonizio, specifically – and the first sentence of her poem Theodicy is this:

Suppose we could see evil with such clarity we wouldn’t hesitate/to stamp it out like stray sparks from a fire.

The thing is, the evil is inside me, and that evil is the hate and resentments I am harboring with such passion. Forgiveness is stamping out the stray sparks from a fire fueled by resentment and hate.

So, today, as I relax and read my book, I’m also going to spend a little bit of time fine tuning my forgiveness skills. I’m going to keep picking up that ball and throwing it toward the net over and over again and – pun intended – forgive myself for missing over and over again.

Boy, I’ve really pushed the boundaries of metaphors above. This is it. For right now, I forgive, and walk forward. I may turn around and pick my anger back up ten seconds from now, but I will keep practicing putting it down. Eventually, god willing, it will be so far behind me that it will be more work to go back than to go forward.


Comments Closed


  1. Karen says

    That’s hard work, forgiveness. It’s probably easier at certain times of the month. You might want to chart your ability to forgive, LOL!

    I love how you describe forgiveness as a gift you give yourself. So, so true. Need to share that with my grumpy teen daughter. When she’s not PMSing.

  2. Kathleen says

    I hear you. I usually can forgive. But there is someone in my life who absolutely can’t forgive me. I have forgiven him over and over for absolutely huge transgressions…but for me, there is no forgiveness. I have pointed out the unfairness of it, and I see how the pain is holding both of us back, but I don’t know how to tell someone how to forgive people.

    If you figure it out, please share it with me. Forgiveness is life and love. Not forgiving is like stabbing yourself in the heart over and over and wondering why it hurts. But how do you learn (or relearn) how to forgive?

  3. Christine says

    As an alcoholic myself, when was the last time you went to a meeting? Sounds like not in a very long time. Good luck with that.

    • Cecily Kellogg says

      I’ve actually upped my attendance and am doing some other stuff to focus on recovery more, but you’re right – it was an area that needed attention. :)

  4. jane says

    Tucson’s actually full of hippies, artists and a good number of homeless. I think you and Charlie would actually like it.

    • Cecily Kellogg says

      Yes, we have one of our best friends there and enjoyed it when we visited in 2008. But I would really miss that East Coast bustle, you know? And the plants. I’m really emotionally plugged into the woods here.

  5. says

    Dear Cecily,

    I get it. The pain and the stick and the resentment and the finally letting yourself have a piece of peace because it has been sitting there, waiting for you to entertain it all this time. Bless you and your metaphors and your reality. All morning, a forgiveness wave here…I am supposed to be writing something about courage and I am sunk in with 3 poems and now your post to stir me. There is something about the willingness to admit whatever it is- fear, resentment, anger…that is the beginning of a prayer.
    Thank you for stirring my thoughts.
    Best to you, Suzi

    • Debbie A-H says

      This is a lovely, thoughtful post, Cecily. And this is a lovely, thoughtful reply, Suzi. Thank you both for this today.

    • Cecily Kellogg says

      Thanks to both of you for reading! And I’d forgotten how much I love diving into poetry too.

  6. Anon says

    Sorry if this is a double post (the internet wonked on me when I tried to comment a moment ago).

    I am glad you are going back to meetings and reclaiming your faith. I’ve been reading through your archives (up to December 2006) and you sound so much happier and more peaceful back then. Do you ever read your archives?

    Best of luck to you.