Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Me: We got an invitation today. We were invited to do something.
Myself: Really? We’ve had a lot of invitations lately, but I don’t recall getting any today. What have we been invited to?
Me: We’ve been invited to give up a grudge, one we’ve been holding a long time.
Myself: I don’t recall being invited to give up a grudge, unless, maybe, you mean that letter we got that said nice things about us.
Me: That’s the letter all right. So are we going to?
Myself: Are we going to what?
Me: Give up the grudge.
Myself: You mean today? You want an answer right now? What’s the rush?
Me: There’s hardly a rush. We’ve been carrying this grudge for decades. But I’m finding it a bit of a burden, and I’m just wondering when we’ll be giving it up.
Myself: Well I don’t really know when. The grudge, as you call it, is perfectly justified. We were wronged, you might recall, treated rather badly. I would say we’re owed an apology. I hardly see how a pleasant letter can stand in for that.
Me: What about several nice letters? There have been a few of them over the years, you know.
Myself: Well, I hardly think several nice letters spread over a long period equals an apology. Apoligy is the standard form of invitation when it comes to giving up grudges.
Me: Standard, maybe, but maybe not the only form. What about a few invitations added to a few nice letters? There have been a few invitations to events, as I recall, and never a word of hostility. Surely that counts for something.
Myself: Maybe. But you never really know where words of hostility could be hiding. Maybe they’re written between the lines.
Me: I’ve got that covered. I’ve been looking between the lines of every letter. There’s nothing there except white space. But, look, I’m not hard to deal with. Maybe today is too soon to part with something so familiar as this grudge. Maybe we won’t be able to part with this grudge until tomorrow. What do you think?
Myself: Tomorrow? Well we’ll see what tomorrow brings. I’m not making any promises. This will take some time to consider, and I’m pretty busy, what with Christmas coming and all.
Me: So just tell me one thing, will you? What is your biggest fear about giving up this grudge.
Myself: Fear? What do you mean, fear. I have nothing to be afraid of. It’s just a grudge, after all. What’s so scary about a grudge?
Me: Plenty, I’d say. Most of the world’s wars—maybe all of the world’s wars—are fueled by grudges. I’d call that scary. And here’s another thing. Only half the world’s apologies are generated by genuine remorse. The rest are matters of convenience. Try as I might, I can’t really think how it was convenient to write these nice letters. Now here’s another idea. Could you give it as a gift?
Myself: Give a grudge as a gift?
Me: No, dummy. Could we give up the grudge as a gift? Give the gift of forgiveness?
Myself: Well, there’s a new Christmas idea, the gift of forgiveness. But then, you’ve got to be careful with these new ideas? One year it’s a new idea, the next year it’s a trend. You know how these things get going. One year it’s Cabbage Patch Dolls. Another year it’s I-phones. Pretty soon the whole world is changing, and everybody’s talking about the new trend. Can you imagine what might happen if everybody started giving the gift of forgiveness for Christmas?

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