A season to give and forgive

January 01, 2008|By ADELINE CUMPATA / Pulse Correspondent

It's New Year's Day, and people's hearts are filling with the hope that this year will bring happiness to homes and families.

But this is also a time for forgiveness. In the last year, we all have been short-tempered with friends and family; maybe because Mom or Dad made us do our chores, or complained that our music was too loud, or was demanding about our homework. Perhaps voices were raised and things were said that put a damper on our relationships with the people who mean the most to us.

One day, I was walking through the crowded halls of North Hagerstown High School when I saw a notoriously inconsiderate girl drop her books. She was the type of girl who would sneer at you just because she felt like it and would push anyone out of her way even when the halls were terribly crowded.

When I saw this particular girl's books fall, I smirked, because it felt good to see her upset and with all her papers everywhere, people stepping on her things and no one stopping to help simply because no one wanted to help that demon.


But after a few moments passed, I realized that even though we have our lives, problems and challenges, and are tired of complaints and shortcomings from all around, we, each and every one of us, deserve a second chance - a second chance at life, at love, and at a hope that the next day will be bursting with promise and compassion. I regretted feeling joyous at her mishap, so I helped her collect her books and papers.

Before you convince yourself that this is a cheesy and crummy story, just stop for a moment to think. Does everyone around you seem happy, elated that they woke up this morning, that they have another chance to seize a day full of opportunities and splendor? Or, do the people you encounter stare distantly at you as they walk by, looking but not seeing, their heads full of problems and no solutions, perhaps thinking, "What a crappy, pointless day. What a looooong week!"

When we ourselves can admit that happiness is a precious commodity, then we can begin to accept the feelings of others.

I spoke with students from North High to see what their views on forgiveness were.

Christina Cochran, 16, said most people deserve to be forgiven.

"Forgiveness is an important part in relationships," Christina said. "(But) not everyone deserves forgiveness, because, in a murder, an apology wouldn't be enough."

Esaite Lakew, 16, believes that, ideally, people in close relationships should move past each other's mistakes.

"True friendship or love does not require forgiveness," Esaite said, "but everyone should get a second chance. It's only fair."

Gregor Derupe, 16, thinks that healthy relationships should have forgiveness built into them.

"Instances in life that are a mistake deserve a second chance," he said. "Forgiveness, love and friendship come in one package. Forgiveness is not a separate entity."

The common thread between happiness and forgiveness is acceptance. If people can only accept others for who they are, there is a greater chance that the world can be a happier, more forgiving place. If the inconsiderate girl from my school would just accept that not everyone is like her, but that everyone deserves respect, maybe she too could begin to realize that acceptance leads to happiness, and happiness leads to forgiveness for everything that is less than perfect.

I hope everyone this season can find a reason to share, a reason to care and a reason to forgive others.

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