Mister Rogers, you once asked us,
“What do you do with the mad that you feel?”
What if you don’t know what to do with it? What if I choose to do nothing with it? What if it is so overwhelming I choose to let it eat away inside me?
What do I do with the mad that I feel? I let it eat inside me. It stays inside because no matter how angry or hurt I am, it really doesn’t matter.
I watched Tom Hanks portray you in a movie and after seeing it about 5 or 6 times, it gets more and more difficult to watch each time.
It’s not because of the acting…it’s because of the message.
Early in the film, Tom (You) says in talking about forgiveness, “It is a decision to release a person from the anger we have at them. Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love.”
Each time I watch, the line amounts to the knife twisting in the wounds of my past, present and more than likely my future.
Mister Rogers, I know I need to forgive. I know it is the right thing to do and a destination which I hope will be reached one day in the not so far away future. Forgiveness is the only way to release me from so much which is eating away at my soul.
I need to forgive, but I am sorry Mister Rogers….
I DO NOT WANT TO FORGIVE.
If I forgive it’ll amount to pissing in the wind. How do you forgive someone who doesn’t feel they need forgiven? All of your anger and hurt is null and void in their eyes. Your anger is mistaken as a sign you have never really grown.
Is forgiveness really worth it? I can see the conversation now.
ME: Look, I’ve been thinking about my role in our relationship and I’d like to have an honest and open conversation about how I have helped contribute to where we are today. I forgive you and release you from all the anger and hurt I have stored up against you.
OTHER PERSON: *scoff* What are you talking about? Like I’m the one who needs forgiving. You did this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and of course you didn’t do that, that, that or that. You’re stupid for thinking I have anything to do with how fucked up you are. If you would have only called more. We don’t know why you would be angry. That’s what we tell our friends.
Where is the joy in that?
I used to think it was the rightful duty of a Christian to forgive because “Jesus forgave us from our sins” and if you didn’t forgive you would go to hell. Today not as much. Free from the dogma, I can step back and look at things from a better perspective.
And my perspective says…. Fuck that noise.
Forgiveness is not a one-sided act. For forgiveness to let healing work its magic there needs to be an honest dialogue exchange. Without it one is singing into an empty auditorium. Might as well be clapping with one hand.
I can’t. It’s not worth doing. No matter how good it supposedly make me feel, I can’t bring myself to do it.
I am sorry Mister Rogers. Why does this have to be so hard?
It has reached a time when the flames of hope cause more hurt than the reality of darkness. It’s a dark and ending type of thought but is it? We fight and hold out thinking the story has yet to be written. But what if the fight is what actually causes us the irrevocable harm we fight so hard to prevent.
This is why I keep things inside. It’s not worth sharing something which you can’t put in words. It’s not worth sharing because in the end I’m one of many people who are struggling these days. This soul-killing knot inside of me is just the same as everyone elses out there.
Another part of the movie, you(Tom) asked the main character “When did you become so angry?” Do you remember? Did something happen?
Whereas the main character of the movie was angry over the death of his mother, my anger amounts over time. One thing after another. Large, small and yes even the insurmountable.
I didn’t think I was angry. I was told I had no right to be angry. Why would I be angry when I am the cause of all that is wrong in the world?
Down. Down. Further down. The fist clenching ever so tighter.
It’s not good to keep it all up inside. Instead of being able to release this burden, I get to suffer panic attacks in the middle of important meetings. I also break down and cry when I see something which sparks a memory, reminding me of the hurt I feel and how hopeless it all seems. I have lost holidays and important family events. The thought of how much this hurts stokes the flames of anger. The angrier I feel, the harder I fight to keep things under control.
I ask myself “Why am I holding on to it?”. The only answer I could come up with was.
“It’s all I have.”
Anger is all that is left of what was supposed to have been important memories shared. Time lost. Time which can never be replaced. Does forgiveness bring them back? Does forgiveness bring about a reprieve of the countless nights I have cried myself to sleep?
This is what eats me alive every day. All day. Every Hour.
Imagine being suspended between two factions in your life. One side is the feeling of unbridled hurt and anger and yes even hate. The other side is pain, remorse, and unconditional love. You know you are hurt but you know you have also hurt others. How do you refuse to forgive but also more than anything want to be the one who is forgiven?
Mister Rogers, I wish I knew what to do. I feel so lost in all of this. Everything is piling up and I feel lost. What if the amount of hurt and anger I am feeling is just too overwhelming?
If there was a sub thread in which one could pull from the sweater which was this movie, I would say it was how important introspection is for self development. And this is no different in my world.
All I have are my thoughts. Like Legos, I stack them and re-stack them. Over and over, constructing hopes and futures kicking the can of happiness further down the road.
Look. I get it. As much as I am angry, there are people angry with me. I may be blonde, but even I can figure it out. I’m not asking for anyone to agree to whatever I think I feel is/was wrong.
Forgiveness is not an off/on switch.
Forgiveness is a catalyst.
If I ball my hand up into a fist and clench as hard as I can for as long as I can, the simple act of releasing does not bring instant gratification to my aching hand. Over time, the pain disappoints. We know it will get better because we are doofuses who like to ball up the hand into fists until it hurts.
Forgiveness is the decision to open up your hand, to open your heart and allow there to be healing. The path to true healing starts with forgiveness. I can’t do it. I just can’t. Therefore, I choose to take a different path.
I am sorry Mister Rogers.