By WALTER ALBRITTON
Forgiveness is a powerful key to a life of joy and peace. It may well be the most positive power in the world. Forgiveness can break the chains that hold you in bondage to the past. It can free you to enjoy peace in the present and hope for the future. It can make relationships strong and beautiful.
A family remains healthy through the constant practice of forgiveness. That’s because no one is perfect, and sooner or later every one of us will need forgiveness for having said or done the wrong thing.
Soon after our marriage, my mother gave Dean and me a framed copy of this profound statement: “Marriage: May there be such a oneness between you that when one weeps the other will taste salt.” It hung in every bedroom we shared during our 68 years of marriage.
We shed many tears and tasted a lot of salt. Repeatedly, forgiveness saved and restored our marriage. That philosophy helped Mama and Daddy stay married too — for 67 years.
An injured relationship with Dean was always at the top of my pain list. When our oneness had been broken, usually by me, I was miserable. I could not focus well on any task at hand. All I could think about was “How can I fix this?”
Early in our marriage we sometimes engineered a two-weeks “mad.” Rather than say “I am sorry,” we punished each other by withholding forgiveness.
Fortunately, we got better at “making up.” As the years went by, we learned how to recover from a breakup within minutes. In our golden years, truth be told, neither of us had the energy for a good fight, and that may be one of the blessings of old age.
“Making up” is one of life’s sweetest experiences. The process is not complicated. You come down off your high horse and admit you were wrong. You ask forgiveness. You offer forgiveness. You accept forgiveness. The result is awesome. You exchange misery for joy — and the joy of oneness releases an extraordinary peace within your soul. Life is beautiful again.
When you become weary of pouting and chaffing because your feelings have been hurt, you might try saying “I was wrong; please forgive me.” That’s how you use the power of forgiveness. Offer it and soon you may be tasting salt. And when you are miserable, nothing tastes better than the salt of oneness restored. I suppose it’s the only time when salt is sweet.