| Anne Williamson |

All forgiveness involves grief… I will never know what it feels like to be a boy unconditionally loved by his father. The story of our marriage will never be a fairy tale again. I have broken people I love with my own brokenness. Those 10 years, I’ll never get those back. 

This is what makes forgiveness so hard. It’s also what makes it sticky. Our grief deserves space; we must give it time. And yet, hold on too long and you begin to identify with… no, as it. The grief becomes entangled in your self – shaping the stories you tell, the life you create.

My favorite definition of forgiveness comes from a 1990 guest on The Oprah Winfrey show named Harold. Paraphrasing him, Oprah says, “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different.” It’s not condoning or excusing; it’s accepting what was, and even what currently is…

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It's been two months since I last alluded to depression in this blog, and five months before that I spoke about it for the first time. So, honestly, I was due - depression may stay away now for longer stretches but it's hell-bent on staying in touch. I hesitate admitting this. Doing so still delivers pricks of shame, though the needles have shrunk. I'm also not sure I'm ready to admit depression as a theme in my writing - too honest, too cliche. Of course, it makes sense: our lessons, our wisdom loves to lie in the shadow side of our personality.

This week was no different. As I pushed against depression's weight, I found myself wondering about hope versus useless desire. When do we name wanting to change a personality trait, a situation, a relationship, as one or the other? And, therefore, keep trying or begin to let go, accept? 

The answer is rarely simple. It depends on a myriad of factors, uneasy answers to complicated questions: Which is kind? To who? Which is safe? Brave? Sane? Am I self-aware enough to know the difference? How long have I been trying? How long is too long? How set is she in her ways? How set am I? Is my hope enabling him? Is this institution, this dynamic, dysfunctional beyond repair? Perhaps only if I stay? Or, go? Maybe it's just not my fight? Which is loving? Which, if anything, will work?

I think these are good questions, however seldom we know the answers. I also think there may be a better one.

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Anyone who knows me well - and now, anyone reading this blog - knows I struggle at times with depression. My fear gets the better of me, and I sink. Thankfully, I always rise too; but, in the moment, depression sucks.

Recently, when in a depressed state, I pulled out my Bible and found myself reading in Matthew I should love my enemies. Having no human enemies, I felt deeply I was to love the "enemy" within: the depression. So, I did. I got still and started sending love to my fear, love to my depression. The best way to describe the result is expansive. I felt my heart soften and open. Instead of the exhaustion of constant resisting and fighting, I began to fall into loving acceptance. In so doing, I felt the fear recede, as if it too had received what it needed.  

What do you think about the idea of acceptance?  Take a moment to write down your thoughts. Then, LEARN, LISTEN, LOVE...

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