On Forgiveness

My brain is stuck on a loop. Several loops, actually, and they all seem to have a common denominator–aggrievance and forgiveness. The last 24 hours have been rife with opportunities to lose my cool. For starters, I learned that my brother has relapsed again, and is likely going to prison this time, which he unfortunately prefers to starting over in his rehab program despite having two young children who are impacted by his “preferences.” Next came the culmination of a week’s worth of effort to coordinate the KD’s medical testing and legal representation–it boiled down to me standing in the airport, finally getting the lab results, and then hearing that one of the samples was thrown out before the test was finished. To add insult to injury, one person told me a substantial amount of my money would be refunded in light of all the hassles I’d endured with the clinic personnel, and her colleague told me, not 10 minutes later, than I would not be refunded said money. While I was trying to hash this out in the tunnel between gates C and B in “the world’s busiest airport!” a woman approached me and asked for directions. I pointed at the phone, a device into which I was clearly speaking, and this did not deter her for one second. I finally said “I am busy talking on the telephone and cannot help you.” She approached R instead.

After a very stressful two hour layover that was entirely devoted to phone calls to and from medical and legal professionals, we boarded a plane and sat next to a 19 year old Marine who was headed to Japan. He had never flown before and had a ton of questions about everything from airports, time zones, and Japanese food and culture. All of his questions came after his announcement that Atlanta “used to be cool” before gay people turned it to shit. Last but not least, after a very trying six hour flight (during which I happened to be the only medical professional willing to identify herself and aid a young mother with a sick baby) two adult men nearly came to blows in the airport tram after one’s child knocked the other’s “very expensive” camera off of the top of his suitcase.

I went to sleep ruminating on the verbal altercation between the two men, and thinking about how raw and animalistic it was. I awoke to news on the front page of the NY Times that the Illinois branches of Catholic Charities would rather shutter its services than be forced to consider gay couples as prospective parents to neglected, abused, and unwanted children. My reading was interrupted by a call from the KD’s would-be attorney, notifying me that she can’t do the job on our tight timeline, which, by the way was made tighter by the lack of response from the medical providers that bungled the job we paid them dearly to perform.

Now, let me tell you why I’m still clinging to a modicum of peace. We’re all a mix of our best intentions and our worst failures. We all make mistakes, and sometimes our mistakes seriously inconvenience others or hurt them considerably. But I think we all deserve a chance to let our best selves shine, and sometimes we can only do that when others will look past our imperfections and stupidity in the search for common ground. I think this is hardest to do when it comes to family, because in some ways we expect the very most from our family, perhaps because they are closest to ourselves.

Today I’m choosing forgiveness. Forgiveness and optimism. Hope in the human potential, and love for its flawed beauty.

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