Rick Wamre: Finding forgiveness this season, whether it’s deserved or not

A fool’s Christmas

I’m guessing Louis C.K. won’t be having a particularly joyous holiday season. Harvey Weinstein probably won’t be spending much time near any mistletoe. Kevin Spacey will likely have an uncomfortable amount of “me” time between now and the end of the year, too.

It’s shocking how quickly a life can change.

These guys are getting what they deserve, you could say, but the rapidity with which they were marooned by the rest of us is still breathtaking.

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I know some of you aren’t particularly “holiday” people — you don’t care much for the Christmas story, perhaps, or you don’t get along with your family, or you don’t enjoy champagne and fireworks at midnight.

But there’s a certain sense of community created by the holidays, whether you love them or loathe them, and it’s a sad thing when someone has lived a life so fraught with idiocy or abuse that he or she is forced to stand apart during a time of the year when good cheer is practically mandated.

The specter of watching someone’s life collapse is hard to turn from when it’s broadcast so conveniently on every form of media in our paths. The ubiquitousness of the stories doesn’t forgive the time we spend tuning them in, but it’s easier to forgive ourselves for being spectators than it is to forgive them for being fools.

There are plenty of people out there with desperate illnesses or strikingly sad personal lives who see the holidays as a chance — a final chance, in some cases — to right past wrongs, to say a word of forgiveness long overdue, or just to hug someone who longs to hug back.

I’ve spent a good deal of my life a thousand miles from most of my family. For a long time, I made it back for holidays, regardless of how long it took or how hard it was to get there. That sense of family and community wiped the slate clean each year, whether I deserved it or not, and helped me prepare to tackle what was ahead.

Perhaps I don’t have that much to atone for each season, in a relative sense, but any sin is one too many, according to a book I’ve partially read, and no effort to seek forgiveness is unwelcome.

So here’s hoping our holidays are spent with people who love and forgive us, no matter what we’ve done; and that we find some time and space in our lives to forgive some people who may not deserve our mercy but could certainly use it.

I’ve read that “the loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

I suspect most of us have been to that precipice a couple of times, figuratively speaking, and we were lucky enough to be pulled back by someone in our lives who refused to let go. Here’s hoping we don’t find ourselves there staring blankly again someday, too.

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Maybe we won’t be anyone’s savior this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t extend a hand or a hug or a dollar.

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There are some real dirtbags out there, for sure. But the line separating us can be awfully thin sometimes, too.

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