“Do you know what happens when you hurt people? When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.”
– Ammu in Arundhati Roy’s "The God of Small Things"
It was so easy to forget and forgive this weekend. It was so easy to ask and be forgiven. I don’t think there is a reason in the world to close your heart to either one of those. But then again, is there a reason to hurt anyone in the first place?
Leaning forward to give a hug to a friend Saturday night, I heard a single sentence that was deeply carved into my memory.
“Be good to your mothers,” he said quietly to a group of us leaving his place. His mom passed away several days ago.
The whole world changed its colors as I walked back to my car. I wasn’t driving home, I was floating slowly on a helium balloon, looking at the world below from a new angle.
Down under the streetlights, I saw a dark figure with a grudge on her heart. A mean little person who wasn’t good to her parents. Why is it so, I thought, that I will let friends’ mistakes slide so easily, yet I won’t forgive the two people who love me so unconditionally? Is it just me, or do you let this happen to you as well? Do you ever take love for granted? Do you ever let yourself be mean to someone dear to you, thinking a couple of fights won’t change anything where love is implied?
* * *
“Even in the hardest of times,
No one will erase this kind of friendship
Off the face of the earth.”
I walked through the dance floor Friday night and my eyes, once again, met his. A friend so close and dear to me yet so far away for what seems to have been forever. It was only about a month ago that we stopped talking, running past each other in awkward silence. His eyes would always tell me he still cared. His actions would say otherwise.
His greeting came out of nowhere, followed by a hug. The conversation was flying like a bunch of little flies above our heads, I could hear the buzz but the meaning seemed out of reach. He hurt me with his harsh words last time we spoke… afraid to approach me after that… he didn’t really mean any of it... He didn’t??
…when weakness turns my ego up
I know you'll count on the me from yesterday.
If I turn into another
Dig me up from under what is covering
The better part of me.
Once again, he spoke of that implied love, that unbreakable friendship, that tie that is supposedly always there, and I was expected to know that it was... Was I??
However far away, I will always love you
However long I stay, I will always love you
Whatever words I say, I will always love you
I will always love you…
How was I to know? For a moment there, it made me think of my parents again. How do they know that I still love them as much, if I ignore their phone calls for days after an argument? Why do we expect others to know we still love them? If in our hearts we truly do, then any pain we cause is consciously temporary, right? I think this awareness only makes it worse; it gives intention to our actions. Emotion alone can’t be blamed for it all. We’d cool it down and think 10 times before hurting someone if each time the love of that person was at stake. The problem is, we think love will always be there, no matter what we say. There's always a way out, a "sorry" somewhere out there to lean on and "it's ok" to follow, both of them worn out to the extreme, overused.
Look me in the eye,
And ask for forgiveness.
We'll make a pact to never speak that word again.
Yes, you are my friend.
If there were no hurts, there would be no sorries. I think the reason I forgave my friend without a second thought was because my own heart wasn’t clear of guilt, a different kind, yet as strong.
* * *
This might seem like a mix of thoughts about a string of unrelated events but that’s not the case. The thinking they brought was similar and the outcome was one. I called my parents. My mom can never be mad at me for more that five minutes so the negative things were easily left behind. I need to learn her ways as I struggle toward becoming a better person.
I felt the bitterness of what it’s like to live on that implied love for a while, and I didn’t enjoy it for a minute. If there is love, I want to know that it’s there. If everyone always showed that they cared and never implied it, the notion of forgiveness would slowly become obsolete.
Lyrics used in this post:
Incubus - Dig
311 – Love Song
Kvitka Cisyk - Where are you now?