I heard a quote the other day by the Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. He says that “forgiveness is about giving up all hope of a better past. As we close out 2022, we are reminded of another year gone by, things undone, laughter, heartache, and tears.
I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3 and the idea that there is a time. Ahead of us, we have 365 days. Behind us, we have 365 days and depending on your age, a lot of days. We cannot go back; we must not go back. When I was in the church, and the few funerals I was able to be part of, I used to say that death is the end of new memories. Existence is something one creates by one’s being.
Today, tonight, 2022 breathes it’s last sighs and 2023 breathes it’s first. Hope is the “basic ingredient in optimism, a tendency to dwell on the best possibilities. It is a frequent companion of another spiritual practice – enthusiasm”(Brussat 2022). Both are energizing forces that can propel us into the void of the unknow, strengthen us with confidence that our next steps will be brighter, bolder, life giving.
Jesus was asked one time how many times one should forgive. He said something preposterous in reply, 70x 7. Who gave you static last year? What fell through last year? Who stabbed you in the back? Or who hurt you in the past? Who abandoned you? Betrayed you? In thinking about hope, where does your hope lie? For a better past? Or for a better future? You cannot go back.
Go forward, or not. Here is now and, in a few minutes, here will be then. Whenever we meet someone on the road ahead and they are thrashing about in gloom and doom, let us vow to hold up the banner of hope. In cultivating forgiveness, we are cultivating acceptance. We are learning to see that there are no differences between ourselves and those around us, truly, we all want the same thing, love. Around the next corner is a person hoping for a better past. You can be the one who perhaps is the one who shows that person that there is a brighter hope for a brighter future.
Goodbye 2022, welcome 2023. May all we do this next year flow from the deep connection we have with each other and the oneness we share with the divine. May we create communities of love where hate cannot conquer our walls of love. May we see the beauty in the hearts of those around us. May there not be cruelty, hatred, greed or war within ourselves, our families, our communities, our world.
Hope as a Spiritual Practice | Spirituality & Practice. (n.d.). https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/practices/alphabet/view/14/hope