Easter always leads me to confront a powerful question: why can't I forgive myself? I know my Lord is forgiving, but how can I apply His grace and mercy to me? In the midst of chocolate eggs and brightly colored candy wrappers, there is darkness that can overwhelm me – the knowledge that I have done wrong and failed, over and over again.
I'm familiar with the concept of second chances; I understand that all I need to do is ask for forgiveness and express regret for my mistakes. But I often struggle to do this even in moments when I'm struggling with the guilt of self-inflicted wounds. I come up against a wall of sadness and an inability to move past it and continue my journey forward.
This feeling is intensified by all the things that I know I should have done differently, and the missed opportunities due to selfishness or fear. The spiritual ideas surrounding Easter are still distant and out of reach, despite their potential to provide comfort, solace and healing. My own barriers in accepting these notions prevent me from experiencing any relief or allowing myself to open up to the kindness and forgiveness available this time of year.
When faced with seemingly insurmountable struggles, I've learned to allow myself time to reflect and reassess my situation and beliefs. This has been particularly valuable at Easter, when I'm prompted by various traditions to explore my spirituality and overall relationship with God. Taking some time away from my daily environment has also been beneficial, as it reinforces the importance of discerning practices and connecting with others who share similar life experiences.
When it comes down to it, we all yearn for inner peace; something that we can access through our faith, or even just a sense of understanding that there might be hope for our future efforts. More often than not, I struggle with a disconnect between spiritual concepts and physical reality. While God remains forgiving, sometimes it takes more than a few prayers to reach a state of peace in which you can forgive yourself too.
The power of recognizing your own weaknesses, accepting them, and working towards making changes can go a long way towards easing my conscience. Growing in a sense of compassion towards oneself can feel daunting, like the peak of a mountain waiting to be climbed, but the rewards lie on its rocky peak. It is worth searching for new ways forward –by looking inwardly, examining circumstances, and making wiser choices in future endeavours.
In moments when we feel overwhelmed by our own failures, it's challenging to find glimmers of hope in our circumstances. But learning to forgive oneself is an important part of growing and rebuilding our integrity. Restorative practices around Easter are an important part of finding closure over our actions and being able to move forward to a place of acceptance.