You know the feeling of guilt? The one which makes you feel like a millstone has been tied around your neck and no matter how hard you try, you find yourself drowning into the massive ocean? You may feel that you can survive, but that horrible sinking feeling keeps coming back. I’ve felt like that. I’ve tried to shake it off but it just doesn’t go. The memory is so deeply ingrained into my mind that even though a considerable amount of time has passed, the regret still remains with me for having done something unwarranted. You might not entirely understand my predicament, but it will probably be relatable.
Some time back I had a huge fight with my father on an issue I don’t wish to disclose. Nevertheless, it could be called a series of miscommunications. For me, respect is of utmost importance. No matter what the circumstance, it is a founding principle of my life. It is something I stand by very firmly, but that day I betrayed the very basic principle of my life, I fell in my own eyes by saying very bitter, harsh words to my father. I wouldn’t say those immature and ungrateful words even to my worst enemy in a fit of rage, let alone my own father. The magnitude of remorse and shame that I still feel months after the occurrence is so great that it pains me even to put it down on this page in black and white; I simply cannot think about it without burning with shame. My guilt prohibited me from facing him. I felt so small that I wanted to disappear.
The apology that my father at least deserved came a few days later. My conscience said that he should stop talking to me completely, I even expected it. But what my father said instead was a strong blow to my taken-for-granted existence. “I am your father dikra (child). You may say the worst of things to me, but how can I not forgive you? Moreover, your anger did have a reason, there’s no smoke without fire, now, is there?” he said warmly. I was stunned! How could he forgive me and be willing to accept what was obviously unacceptable?! “Why?” I said. “Well, the most obvious reason is that every parent is, in a layman’s understanding, biologically wired to forgive his/her children without ifs or buts. But, there’s more to it. A family is the building block of society, more important than the hundred acts of kindness done outside, is this everyday humaneness that we experience with the people around us. This ultimately becomes the foundation of a kinder world.”
Even though he has forgiven me and the incident is way past the both of us, it does, quite often pop into my head. Now that I think about it, this is what kindness is, at least to me – A feeling, an emotion in which even if you have been wronged, you are brave enough to give people a second chance wholeheartedly, to trust people one more time, and this is the ‘kind’ of world that I want to live in, in which no mistake is too big to be undone, no misunderstanding too complicated to be resolved, no words too harsh to be taken back. Let’s give people a chance to change, no matter how remote the chances may be. Let’s just not forgive and forget, let us forgive and be kind; if not for others, at least for ourselves.
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