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A Forgiving Tale

labyrinth--avila beach, by Moon RhythmOnce upon a time, there was a brash young woman who thought she had answers, the answers, enlightening answers. She considered it her responsibility to share her brilliant revelations with the people closest to her, even though she knew they would be deeply hurt.

“The truth is the truth,” she told herself. “They need to face up to it.” She squared her shoulders. “We’ll all be better off when we share the same truth.”

Sure enough, people were hurt. Some only a little, some a little more, and some were mortally wounded. (Or so it seemed.) The brash young woman watched it all and stood firm. She knew what she was doing. People were hurt by the truth only when they’d been living a lie, right?

She turned her back on the mortally-(or so it seemed)-wounded, those who insisted on embracing the old lies. She shoved them back, further and further, until they were tiny specks in the distance, nothing much, those people.

But she hadn’t factored time into her brilliant campaign of truth.

Time crept forward like a grey shadow, so stealthily and with such insinuating skill that she didn’t notice for a long time that her beautiful answers showed signs of wear around the edges. They’d begun to decay.

At first, once she saw what was happening, she panicked. She ran around and around protesting and yelling and trying to make everyone understand and do what she said and remember the original brilliant truth. But eventually even she noticed that she was running in circles. In the same tighter and tighter circle, in fact. And when the circle became tight enough, she saw that she was at its centre.

Not she and the truth at the centre of it all. But just she. Alone. With the actually-not-mortally-wounded people looking at her. After a few eons of standing alone in the centre of her circle, she lifted her eyes. But she saw only concern in the eyes of the actually-not-mortally-wounded. Then a hand reached out to her.

By the time the formerly brash, formerly young woman got up the nerve to pick up the truth and hold it, it was small. Tiny. Almost nothing. And she didn’t see any way to forgive herself for the damage she’d done, even though everyone around her, all the people she’d aimed her truth at so deftly and certainly and sharply and (she sighed) wrongly, forgave her.

In the end, she was saved by a falsehood. The becoming-wiser, rather-older woman pretended she forgave herself. She lied to herself. She walked around saying “I forgive myself – I forgive myself – I forgive myself” a thousand times a day, day after day. She faked it for so long she came to believe it as truth.

The irony was not lost on her.

Flickr photo: labyrinth–avila beach, by Moon Rhythm.

Related reading: Book | How to Live With an Idiot, Herbal Pharmacy


  1. heart-breakingly beautiful

    Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 7:27 am | Permalink
  2. jo martin wrote:

    Danielle nailed it: heart-breakingly beautiful.

    This is a *forever* keep.

    Thank you!

    Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink
  3. Very powerful, very beautiful indeed.

    Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  4. Marina wrote:

    Wow this was chilling and powerful!

    Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  5. It’s relieving and gratifying for me to continue to discover that there’s a “universaility in so many of our supposedly individual epiphanies” (to paraphrase what a reader of this post wrote in an email to me).

    Friday, March 20, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
  6. Karen wrote:

    Not only are you gifted being an HSP, but you have the gift to write as well…
    The words used, the implied visuals that pop instantly into the mind and bring about those ‘small’ epiphanies…
    Thank you, thank you, thank you…

    P.S. I never knew I had the gift to write until I was told by someone who was moved by my work…writing for me was a way to release and not necessarilly to have some sort of message, you know! I guess this is how art, when it comes from the heart can reach out and touch other hearts.


    Friday, August 13, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  7. Thanks a bunch, Karen, for taking the time to leave a comment and to let me/us know what you think.

    I’m like you in that I tend to write for myself, to heal and understand, then to share what of that seems shareable. You say it very well in your comment.

    Peace to you, too,

    Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

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