Waheguru ji ki Fateh
Today I’ve been focussed a lot on forgiveness. Some friends, who I thought I had always been kind too, made some hurtful comments after they apparently spent hours on my Facebook page going over photographs of me. For example, they expressed shock that the photos were in colour which is a real comment on how they view my age (I’m several years older than they are) given that colour film became widely available in 1935 when Kodak introduced Kodachrome colour film to the world.
Still, I went along and laughed off their comments and even played “spot me in the group pic” with them for awhile after they suggested that I’ve not changed at all in looks from birth. You should know, as they’re aware, I have a phobia about cameras pointed at me and having my picture taken. My phobia is paralyzing and I’ve never been able to conquer it so you can imagine that putting pictures of myself on the internet was a big deal to begin with. It was a hard experiment in acceptance. Knowing those pictures were viewed so intently was quite a lot of stress.
On most things, I can take a lot of teasing. Short jokes, jokes about my German heritage, my unruly hair (before it was covered – people don’t ever see it now), my profession…I love a good joke about those things but other things are hard to laugh away, they just hurt deeper and you never expect your friends will go there. When the jokes didn’t stop last night and they started happening when people believed I was out of earshot, I grew frustrated, more hurt and I left, unwilling to laugh it off any longer. I spent a sleepless night wondering what I had done to deserve such carelessness and I spent many of those hours as well reopening old insecurities about my appearance and my self-worth.
There came a barrage of texts with things like “if we said something by mistake…” and apologizing. Last night, I was nowhere near ready to hear any apologies. First I was busy removing all pictures of myself from the internet and scolding myself for trusting people with my heart. Second, I think I was a little too righteous. I would never have treated them like that after all. If my teasing was uncomfortable for a friend, that ends the teasing. Period. End of discussion.
Today, I’m still not ready to hear any apologies. I’m not ready to trust them with my friendship again. I know how hurt I feel is my issue and I know they probably didn’t start out intending to hurt me like they did. Logically I know this but they still took advantage of my trust and its my trust that is broken, not my feelings. Trust takes so much longer to repair.
Repairing trust starts with forgiveness. First, I have to forgive myself for being sensitive and not addressing the problem with more courage but instead with righteousness (which is a problem of the ego). I have to forgive myself for walking out on them instead of surrendering my ego. Then I guess I have to forgive them for their carelessness.
No less thing than forgiveness is expected of me.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji says that “forgiveness is fundamentally a moral act between self and others.” and “where there is forgiveness there is God”. Forgiveness however, might be one of the biggest challenges to one’s ego. At least it is for my particular ego, which is my own failure. Today I will try to concentrate on following the path and doing Naam so that maybe this experience can help me become a better Sikh and closer to Waheguru. Who knows maybe my friends will even forgive my last of courage. Wish me luck.