I think as I’ve become older I’ve felt more and more vulnerable to the fear of “being in trouble”.  I guess it’s because I’m a bit more frail physically, I’m more likely to be unemployed due to my age, and so I maybe feel the world less forgiving of any mistakes I may make.  I’ve acquired more and have more to lose.  I feel more exposed to deadlines of electing my medical insurance in time, disputing denied coverage, filing taxes, checking that I don’t have outstanding bills as a result of a credit card or banking snafu, checking that nothing fishy is happening with my life’s savings from identify theft,  making sure my car inspection is OK,  not letting my Project Management certification expire,  making sure I don’t forget some key governance step within the projects I manage for my employer.  There’s a sense within of me of “better not forget to do this or else..”  … Or else you’ll be in trouble,  or else you might be get in trouble with the authorities … or else you might forfeit …. or else you might die.

I recall various points in my life hearing about someone getting abruptly and quietly removed from the company I worked for due to some unethical activity.  When I was younger I just kind of thought:  “wow that was a bad thing that person did, I wondered only briefly why they did what they did and it didn’t give it much more thought as it seemed no where close to the realm of my personal world”.  But now I feel beyond the act and feel more about the humanity of that person.

More recently I read in the news about an employee in my current company that got caught stealing some information.  Sure that was illegal, but I think more about the person.  How terrible must they be feeling?  Will they ever be able to earn a living again?  What kind of terror they must have felt?  What humiliation they must have felt?

I recall some people I grew up as a child with and at least two as adults kind of made local headlines and ultimately got arrested and are serving time in prison.  How terrible must they be feeling?  Will they ever be able to earn a living again?  What shame must they feel?  There’s a sense as I feel into their situation and imagine I’m in their shoes of “I just wish I could disappear, curl up in a dark corner and die, never to be seen again”

And these are the feelings I feel more and more.  Ever since I was laid off my previous job,  ever since my long loved dog died,  ever since I’ve come to realize uncles, aunts, my parent approaching a time where they will die,  ever sense I felt more of my physical limitations encroaching upon me with every year of aging I feel those same feelings.  I feel more wanting to be forgiving of others as well as myself.

I definitely see it played out in the 2016 presidential election race.  I can see Hillary Clinton representing all those somewhat not quite so proud and maybe even embarrassing things we have done in the past.  The same holds for Donald Trump.  I can see more of the so so so many people that are imprisoned.  I can remember a boy that I mentored when I was in the Big Brothers Organization and how he shared his father was in prison and how in his world having a father who wasn’t there and was in and out of prison wasn’t unusual.

I see less of a world in a black and white view of most of us “good” people surrounded by the a few “bad” people that belong in prison.  I see past that and see just all of humanity as imperfect human beings with many parts of their lives struggling and feeling disillusioned, betrayed, abandoned, forgotten, and unaccepted for who they are as human beings.

I can see that the one who blames the other, who so righteously casts the first stone is most likely feeling just as guilty and horrified about some small dark corner about themselves.

In the end I come back to my original Christian roots and concept of God and understand that this God created all of us with all our frailties and imperfections and pensions to do “bad”  Could it perhaps be that the so many bad things we do as humans aren’t quite as bad as we all believe?  Let’s not so much look at the shame and horror of the act itself and let’s start to judge “bad or good” by one to one relationships with every individual … and then let’s let our heart judge it by how we loving to ourselves and to others.

I mean I think all of our hearts can sense what seems like a “bad” thing to the extent of how it may cause harm and hurt to others in the context of love.  Our hearts can sense non loving actions, actions of coldness, cruelty, betrayal, abandonment, intentional hurting and forgetting.  And if I think if we can stop more there …  by the standard of how loving we are towards each other, then our sense of “bad” will guide us to show kindness and caring to others in just the right manner, that is just right, even if no one else ever witnesses the act of kindness, even if according to the principals of a righteous “enforcer of law or ethics” it might not quite fit.

God created even those who are in prison.  God loves all those who are in prison.  God created those who have killed. Note that so many killers have been judged by man as good for killing those who are judged bad.  God loves those killers who are judged good and those who are judged bad because they were all his children.  Are we more and more conscious of the fact that the idea of “good killing off evil” is a sham.  Those who are killing us quite possibly view us as the bad and are feeling like they are the good killers and we are the bad killers.  An eye for an eye only makes he whole world blind.

And so I’m feeling so much more forgiving to others.  It’s not so much because I’m feeling the need or ability to aspire to be a saint to be more like Jesus.  No it’s more about the need to be more forgiving and compassionate to myself.  Because with increasing age, I have increasing history of things I might have wanted to hide, and I have increasing awareness of maybe wanting to explore and do things I might always have wanted to do but was afraid to have tried.

In all these scenarios where there is a fear that drives me to want to hide or not try is something deeper.  That something deeper is the fear of the “what if.”  What if I fail in a particular way?  What if I get fired?  What if I look like a fool or maybe in someone else’s mind I look bad?  What if I look like the biggest disappointment? What if I go broke and lose my house?  What if loved one’s and the rest of my family becomes ashamed of me and distances themselves from me?  What if I’m homeless and live on the streets?  And what if I have to steal for food, and sell my soul to survive?  And what if I end up in prison? Will you still love me?

It all comes back to will I still love me?  Can I forgive me? … because in the end it’s only me that will best understand the particular circumstances and struggles that I faced on my journey that brings me to where I am right now.  And I understand to get to that place I simultaneously start to understand that I also want to still love you despite what you’ve done. That I want to forgive you, because I can so much believe you have had good reasons to do  what you did because of the particular circumstances and struggles you faced on your journey.  I want to forgive you even if what you decided to do was a bad choice, even if it seems like a downright malicious and uncaring choice against me.

I believe you entirely.  Why? … because you hold a particular membership card and certification that vouches for you. That membership card and certification is the fact you are human.  So if I ask you why you did this? or why you didn’t do this? … in an accusatory way you can respond because

“I’m human”

and I can hopefully remember who I am and say “Oh yes.  That’s right.  OK.  Yes you’re part of the human club.  Say no more.  That explains it.  You are excused.  I forgive you.  I love you. Namaste brave human.  You have a hard road.  Be on you way”

I Love you

I am Sorry

Please Forgive Me

Thank You

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