Forgiveness and Blessing

As one year follows another in my life, I realize the accuracy of a statement made by F. Richard Rohr, OFM. He says that two challenges in our later years are forgiveness and letting go.
Lent provided time to look at that reality a little more closely as I reread the book, My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD. The line from this book that created a mantra in my being was the following comment Rachel’s grandfather made to her about blessing others.

When we recognize the spark of God in others,
we blow on it with our attention and strengthen it,
no matter how deeply it has been buried or for how long.
When we bless someone, we touch the unborn goodness in them and wish it well.”

The immediate image that surfaced for me as I read this was “blowing on the God-spark“ so that it can burst into flame. I recognized how easily, in ordinary times, my anger surfaces over tiny things. So I began using that anger-moment to blow an actual “puff of attention” on the God-spark of the person that I chose to be angry at and simultaneously to let the “puff of attention” blow on the God-spark in me that needed strengthening. It’s been amazingly humbling.

That puff of forgiveness for myself and for the other has anointed me with the ointment of letting go. The letting-go journey has clearly just begun. But this brief moment of allowing anger to be diffused with a “puff of double blessing” has already gifted me with a certain quietness that says “all is well.”