‘Why, she asked herself, why keep a wound open when forgiveness can close it?’ – Alexander McCall Smith

Forgiveness, as an act of love, is felt, not achieved. It can be given, but it may not always be received. It cannot be bestowed as either a triumph over another person, or as the means to secure their humiliation or acquiescence.

It is most healing, most profound when it grows out of humility and realism, a hard-won sense that, whether you are entirely to blame in these events and I am blameless, there is in each of us insufficiencies and imperfections that can be our greatest teachers.

You may not recognise forgiveness even when you have experienced it, for what we are seeking to know better is subtle, difficult to define, multi-layered and contains an element of magic. You will, however, feel it in your body. Something – very nearly a ‘thing’ – has left you. You are no longer carrying the load you were; you have put it down. Anger may have given way to sorrow or regret. Rage may have flattened out into indifference or pity. Into what seemed black and white has crept a little grey. … You are more available to other people and a great deal more available to yourself, yet you think about yourself less, and less anxiously.

Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love‘, Stephanie Dowrick

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