I suppose I thought that simply realizing that there were people and situations I had to forgive and release was the extent of the lesson. I understood that I harbored resentment against a whole legion of those who had populated my life during my tenure at the restaurant. Looking back at those years always devolved into an unpleasant review of this laundry list of people and experiences that had hurt me, vexed me or left me completely abandoned.
Ex-landlord. Ex-employees. Ex-customers. Former competitors. The City of Scappoose. The State of Oregon. Every purveyor who had ever screwed me or dropped me.
So when Pelican appeared last summer, I believed I confronted and forgave all that. I accomplished this with one rather tidy technique: I simply quit looking back. I have kept my eyes studiously either closed in repose or searching the horizon for my new path. I guess I believed that the very fact that I could look ahead, rather than wallow in the hurt and the bitterness, meant I had done as Pelican had bade me.
But Pelican has not gone away.
And I realized today that, if I ever knew what forgiveness was, if I had ever actually bestowed it upon anyone in my life who had done me a bad turn (and I think I have), I’ve either forgotten what it was, or forgotten how to give it. Or that endless five years of constant emotional assault has built up such a huge well of hurt and bitterness that whatever I knew of forgiveness is completely powerless against it. I feel like I’ve been asked to clean up a lake of blood with a thimble full of bleach and a Q-tip.
Even if, even if…