The Color of Forgiveness


By Elaine Mansfield

It has touched deeply my heart when I read this wonderful essay by my dear friend and teacher Elaine Mansfield.

I am not a religious person but a pagan who believes in divine and despite born as a Muslim was in love with Jesus. Not because of the belief in his being offspring of God, sorry, I believe that we are all the children of God, I just love his power of forgiveness and love.

My not so easy youth-life had leaner me not to hate, I have found the jewel of forgiveness than being jealous or thinking of revenge. As I was arrested once in Iran because of my different way of thoughts, I’ve been tortured every day and when I could get out I have just forgiven them because I did believe that they didn’t know what they were doing, as I have learned by Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, Gandhi, and many others who are my real prophets.

I learned to be humble and respect everyone not because of their range or class but because of their being and living as humans. (Though, I must add I’m trying not to be stupid! 😉 )

Anyway, it’s enough of me first 😀 . Let’s enjoy reading the lovely article of Elaine Mansfield about the color of Forgiveness; Blue is my favourite colour ❤ ❤

Blue Morpho Tom Hilton Flickr

“Will you meditate with me?” he asks.
I’d said yes for many years.
Chemotherapy was ordered hours ago.
Salvage chemo.
A cursed name
That hasn’t yet arrived.
I have nothing left to give.

At 3 AM that morning, my cell phone rang.
He’d called from downstairs.
“I can’t breathe,” he said.
“Will you help me?”
“I’ll be right there,” I said.

It’s been like this for days,
For months.
I feel his pounding pulse and call the hospital.
“Take him to the nearest ER,” the doctor says.
I’ve done that many times.
They don’t know what to do with the mess of him.

with Vic in healthy times

“Can you make it to Rochester?” I ask.
“There are hospitals along the way.”
He nods.
I pack his bag while he uses a borrowed cane,
Staggers to the car.
My warrior husband reduced to this.

I hold his hand while I drive through darkness
Toward his doctors at the cancer center.
Listen to him gasp.
We arrive in a pink coral dawn.
Birds sing as I run inside for help.
Two men in blue scrubs bring a wheelchair.
No rooms ready in oncology.
I beg and change their minds.

No one stops me when I raid the linen room for sheets.
No one helps me make his bed.
I roll his head up so he can breathe,
So he can rest,
But I cannot.

Our favorite bluebird friends

Two kinds of cancer now his doctor says.
He offers one last chance.
Salvage chemotherapy.
It will kill him fast or give him months.
My husband’s name is Victor.
He considers the choice.
His hero energy flickers.
Mine is snuffed.

“Will you stay with me until the chemo comes?” he asks at midnight.
“I must lie down,” I say.
That means no.
For the first time I say no.
“I’ll be back early.”

Sassoferrato, The Virgin in Prayer, 1640 (wikipedia)

Burning with shame and hopelessness,
I drive to the Cancer Society Lodge,
Crawl in bed and sob before I fall asleep.
My phone rings at 6 AM.
“I’m OK and I love you,” he says.
The infusion has begun.
He’s not OK, but I’m forgiven.

Alone in bed, eleven years later,
Regret drops me like a wave.
A memory so raw and deep.
I sob until I fall asleep.

At dawn, I dream a Blue Morpho Butterfly,
Sapphire wings as wide as my outstretched hand.
As blue as the Virgin Mother’s robe.
The color of forgiveness.


Tom Hilton, Flickr

I rarely write poetry, but the memory came in this form along with the dream. Thanks to Ellen Schmidt of Writing Room Workshops who encourages my experiments. Do you have regrets, even though you know you did the best you could? How do you forgive yourself for being human? For other posts about marriage and caregiving, see Bookends of a Marriage or Give Thanks For This Imperfect Life. I also suggest Dealing with Regret and Grief by Claire Bidwell Smith.

I’ll be in Columbus Ohio May 17-18 giving a workshop called Finding Wisdom in Aging and Loss. Please leave comments. I’ll respond soon.

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