On my flight back from Croatia, I was reading “Breathing Under Water – Spirituality and the Twelve Steps” by Richard Rohr, OFM. It’s one of those books I read with a pencil, underlining significant concepts and scribbling reminders and my own ideas in the margins.
What I immediately liked about it was its premise that we can all use the 12 steps in giving up our thought processes and learned behaviors to be able to surrender to God, experience deeper healing, and live healthier, freer and happier.
Just before we landed in Nashville, this sentence jumped out at me:
“Forgiveness is to let go of our hope for a different or better past.”
That quote is in the chapter that talks about Step 5 in which admitting our wrongs to God, ourselves and another human is a crucial step in addiction recovery and healing.
I thought about it and reflected on it for several days. (Such good stuff!!)
And during the same time, my Facebook was flooded with pictures and stories of the Croatian soccer team’s achievement, and the support of the whole nation (and much of the world).
There was an incredible sense of national pride involved. The players played well, but they also inspired the world with their stories of overcoming. Several of their stories had to do with losing everything during the war that broke up the former Yugoslavia.
Yes, there are always those who use the situation and want to go back to the past, point fingers, blame and incite new fear and hatred, but for the most part, it seemed to me that people (especially younger people who were little kids during the war) somehow had this wisdom to let go of the hope for a different or better past.
Maybe they truly forgave – our own wrongs… and those committed by others. Maybe they really got tired of living in that never-ending cycle of old grief, pain and blame, that, like an addict who hits the bottom, decided to surrender the past and focus on the present moment – and all the good it contains.
Because when I was on that Main Square during the final game, I didn’t feel any bad feelings or anger toward ‘others’… Just celebrating what was beautiful in that moment – when hope and possibility won the ‘silver plated in gold’ (as the media dubbed Croatian’s second place in the WorldCup).
Because when we forgive and let go of hope for a different or better past, we heal and experience the ultimate transformation – from fear and anger, into love and peace.
Is there anything in your past that you’d like to let go of?
That you’d like to admit, accept and then surrender as it is (because for as long as you continue to look for excuses or blame for why something happened, it holds power over you)?


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