I've always like the word "fugue" because of its dual references to music and psychiatry. So, a polyphonic composistion or a disoriented amnesiac state.... your call. See which one fits.
I went to church this morning. It's a campus church at NIU, so forgiveness came up as a theme a time or two. When the music started to get to me (about 1 second in) or the homily started to lose focus (about 6 minutes in), I went off on my own mental meanderings about the forgiveness that is eluding me.
Anger is also eluding me, for whatever it's worth. I can't sustain it. It takes too much energy. But that's not quite the same as saying that I've forgiven Dave, either. Anger and forgiveness apparently aren't opposites. And let's just be clear that I have nothing like the project of forgiving the person who shot and killed my children, as 5 sets of NIU parents have. I can't even begin to imagine how one would undertake such a project. So I am very aware of the triviality of my dithering.
My first thought... Dave doesn't deserve forgiveness. Ummm.... yeah. Since when is that the point? But it matters. I don't want to fuel his enormous sense of entitlement. "See, I can do all the wrong things, create mayhem in other people's lives, and they forgive me. Aren't I just the cutest thing?" I can't even stand thinking about it. But of course, I'm supposed to forgive anyway. Forgiveness only makes sense if it's a gift. Resentful forgiveness must be some kind of misnomer. And certainly I'm aware that I've been forgiven when I didn't deserve it.
A possible answer to the first thought is that I should forgive not for him, but for me. Forgiving him would (or might) free me. But really now... can there be a self-centered reason for authentic forgiveness? That seems improbable.
Next up is the thought that I might as well forgive him since he matters so little to me any more. But that's not forgiveness; it's disdain. We're getting nowhere fast. Aren't you glad you don't live in my brain???? Count your blessings.
Might forgiveness prevent me from vigorously defending my own needs and preferences in the divorce settlement? Or can a person forgive and simultaneously accept no more crap from the other person EVER?
Seventy times seven. Turn the other cheek. Forgive and forget. Dave doesn't even know if I've forgiven him or not; we haven't spoken in months or e-mailed in weeks. What difference does it make if I do this or not? The best I've come up with is that I don't want to be the kind of person who doesn't forgive. That's pretty unconvincing, as theological positions go.