Fool’s gold

What kind of fool am I, apologising for events that occurred decades ago? None I have reached out to remember me at all, let alone the events I describe.

What was so significant to me, turns out to have meant nothing at all to others. Perhaps on the scale of the continuum of life, those moments were indeed insignificant. What is something I did or said to health crises, family breakup, a death in the family, a terrorist atrocity or global war?

I had a conversation with one such person last night. They couldn’t place me at all. They remembered all of my detractors; not as my detractors, though, but as cherished friends they stayed in touch with for years. They didn’t remember me or any of my friends. They didn’t remember any kind of conflict either.

I suppose what I considered conflict was merely innocuous jest, possibly exaggerated in my mind by the inner paranoia so prevalent at the time. I suppose I was not in a good state of mind in those days. What for others were throwaway remarks, I took to heart. They fed into my overwhelming blues and perhaps became something bigger than they actually were.

Of course, this is not the first time this has happened. Last year, I wrote to apologise to my parents for all I had done in the early days of my journey along this road. My mother had to remind me that I had already apologised repeatedly and that they considered all of it water under the bridge, forgiven and forgotten.

Then I apologised to a student I knew in my first year of university, but they claimed not to remember what I was sorry about at all either; instead they remembered me as one of their first friends there, and said they had always cherished our friendship.

Over and over, people tell me I have nothing to apologise for, or they tell me I apologised at the time, and it is all forgotten. But I remember some of those events vividly. I still feel bad about them. Yet, maybe that is just my ego, giving myself an unwarranted sense of self-importance. Perhaps that is all it is: my egomania, still seeking attention.

Now what? I feel like apologising for my apologies. For emerging from oblivion to say, “I am a ghost from your past, come to haunt you with my memories, for which I am truly sorry!” But of course I won’t. Those I reached out to said hi and bye: “We don’t remember you or what you speak of.” Isn’t that enough for me? Isn’t that some kind of forgiveness? To be completely forgotten.

If I need no forgiveness
I’m all but forgotten
Lost in the changing of the times

Blanco White, Sol

For my part, I wish each of these people well. I pray that the One who created us rectifies for them all of their affairs. I pray they are granted peace and happiness in their lives. I pray that they seek out some of the treasures of their inheritance, embracing all that is good while rightfully discarding whatever is worthless and rotten. I pray that forgiveness is seeded in their hearts for all that have wronged them in their lives.

To practice forgiveness is the true fast, good conduct and contentment.

Baba Nanak

That is how I wish to begin this month in which we attempt to displace the worst parts of ourselves. I pray the One puts in all our hearts a yearning for truth and truthful living. I pray the One grants us contentment, compassion and self-control. May the One grant us humility, wisdom and courage.

Peace to all, from a fool who once wandered past you.

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