I’ve often heard it said that forgiving is for one’s self and not so much for the individual being forgiven. “Forget about them,” I was often told. “Don’t let them dictate you,” they said. I’ve never been able to reconcile that, because I have a hard time forgetting pain, real or perceived. In my mind, forgiveness first requires those who have harmed others to first show penance for what they’ve done. It shouldn’t be as simple as going to the god of your choice and groveling a bit, putting a bit of money in the poor box, and walking away with a clear conscience. Yes, sometimes, forgiveness requires more than just a few words and small actions.
If you talked to anyone at my workplace 5 years ago, they likely would’ve said that they did nothing wrong. That what they did to others was no big deal and that they ought to be forgiven for such small things, if they really need to be forgiven at all. A great many of them firmly believe to this day that they did everything right and no harm was done. Will they ever know? Will they ever gain the conscience necessary to understand not only the harm they did, but the evil they embraced? If you were to ask me, I would say that they will never learn that in this lifetime; only after it has passed will they have a chance to understand, at at that they may never come to terms with it. They may take many lifetimes to finally reconcile the evil they have done.
You see, when I left Club Fed, I wasn’t just giving up a job. I wasn’t just giving up a career. It wasn’t just a paycheck, the benefits, or any material considerations. I was giving up a future. I was giving up hope. Those harmful words that I remember so clearly to this day will remain with me even after I die. “You just need to learn to hear better,” they told me. “She’s just trying to help you out,” they said after those words. Even as I write this now, I can feel anger and hatred within my heart. What would drive people to not only say such things, but to excuse them as well? The reasons are numerous, of course, not to mention varied. Each individual had their own justification, I’m sure. Maybe it was just too much trouble. It was a small thing; I shouldn’t have taken such offense over it. I should have kept it inside the organization; going for outside help was the wrong thing to do. It’s not their job to deal with it; they should just keep their heads down and wait til they finally reach retirement, then they might be able to do something about it.
In the end, people found ways to not take action because they feared that by taking a action that it might be the wrong one. Better to not be in a position where you have to answer why you did an action, because nobody got in trouble for not doing anything. Naturally, this has been proven wrong many times, but we’ll push that aside for now. So many individuals with responsibility who simply wanted the prestige of that responsibility without the actual duty of such. I shouldn’t be surprised, for this is a reflection of both culture and society as a whole.
I remember a great many things. I remember dreams I’ve had to the point I’m not sure if they are mere dreams or something more. Is the waking life the real one or a cover for something else? Are these events the experience of one person or of many? Is this reality or something merely playing at it? Perhaps these questions help with imagination and thus creative ordeals. But what is such if it leads to nothing but pain? Am I simply addicted to that pain, vainly holding onto it so I do not fade away? Is pain the only reason I have retained this life to this point? And if I were to let it go, what would I become?
Yes, I remember. I still hold that anger, that hatred, all so tightly that I fear what may become should it ever be released. For in this life, my greatest fear has never been the end of it, but instead what would happen should I be consumed by so much hate that I’ve kept buried deep within my heart. I fear that at some point, the people of this world will force me to embrace something far worse: apathy.
5 years on, my hope is but a mere candle. And with each passing day, I find less and less of a reason to not extinguish it.