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Have Mercy

Thursday, January 23, 2020

For author and conservationist, Terry Tempest Williams, forgiveness is a strength.

I think of forgiveness as different sets of triptychs that keep presenting themselves. We are hurt by someone or something (transgression). We are changed by that trauma, either paralyzed in our pain or spurred to face and move beyond it (transition). If we are successful in processing it, we succeed in rising above, stronger (transformation). When I was in Rwanda, I saw extraordinary examples of forgiveness. A woman whose husband and son were murdered found out who the perpetrator was and went to that young man.

She said: "I know you killed my son. You killed my husband. You are now my son. We will live with that together and heal."

What I saw in Rwanda is that you can forgive without forgetting. Forgiveness is fierce. At this moment in time, it's essential. When we feel powerless, it's forgiveness that enables us to reclaim our power, to begin to melt our hardened souls.

Terry Tempest Williams's most recent book is erosion: Essays Of Undoing.
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