“We can only know oneness (knowledge) or dwell ignorantly in illusions” writes Joan Gattuso in her book, The Power of Forgiveness: Forgiving as a Path to Freedom. This week, Revered Pat Williamson reflects on the concept of the oneness with the one, the theme of the reading for Oct. 9-15, and its role in forgiveness.
It is so easy to look into the world of appearances and see nothing but separation. And yet the same things that make us unique also make us so absolutely the same. Just because each wave is unique does not mean that it is not part of the ocean. The same for us. We are all part of God. We are the Divine as humans in expression, just as the beautiful tree is the Divine as a tree in expression. We are all part of the whole, part of the Divine.
So what does knowing our oneness with the Divine and each other have to do with forgiveness? When I know that I am one with a loving Divine Presence, it is easier for me to forgive. When I know that I am one with the very person that I am holding the grievance against, then it is easier for me to let go. When I know I forgive others that I am free, it is easier to forgive.
Johnny, Sally, and the Duck: A Story of Forgiveness
A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target.
As he came back to Grandma’s backyard, he spied her pet duck. On an impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit, and the duck fell dead.
The boy panicked. Desperately he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to look up and see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.
After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you Johnny?” And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So Johnny did the dishes.
Later, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help me make supper.” Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it.” Again she whispered, “Remember the duck.” Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, finally he couldn’t stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed the duck.
“I know, Johnny,” she said, giving him a hug. “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. But I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”
We can be like Johnny, a slave to our unforgiveness. The Divine Mother Father God is always waiting, waiting for us to come home and let go of any guilt or shame that we may have.
We all have painful and challenging events that have happened in our life and we have suffered deeply. When we are disconnected from the spirit, our pain seems meaningless. Life seems meaningless. But when we know the oneness with the One, although we still have times when we suffer, life itself has meaning for us as we remain grounded in our relationship with God. Unforgiveness creates a sense of separation, and forgiveness creates a sense of oneness with the One.