I think I know what Helen's getting at . . .
Posted by Rachel on September 25, 1997 at 17:23:33:
In response to More about Helen Burns, written by Amy on September 22, 1997 at 16:31:26
] I know she taught Jane some useful ways to think of her situation that probably got Jane through some rough times, but I'm like Jane in having trouble with turning the other cheek and can't help but agree with Jane's take on the world as I read some of the earlier dialogs between Jane and Helen.
] "But I feel this, Helen: I just dislike those who. whatever I do to please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who pu nish me unjustly. It is as natural as that I should lvoe those who show me affection, or submit to punishment when I feel it is deserved."
] "Heathens and savage tribes hold that doctrine, but Christians and civilized nations disown it."
] "How?" I don't understand."
] Me neither. The Christian doctrine of forgiveness eludes my grasp. Family members of Jeffery Dahmer's victims forgiving him on TV. I don't get it. Call me a heathen, I guess.
A partial take on this: Not too many years ago (about 3) my parents got a divorce (my father had been committing adultery)
As I went through counciling, I went through several stages of anger. At first, I felt extreme anger towards him. (He did many petty things while we visited him, and eventually the visitation broke off.) I hated him for the injuries I realized that he had done to my mother, my sisters, and all of the unintentionally injuries he had done to me (I was his favorite child, and he made relationships strained between me and my sisters. Being the favorite really makes things hard in the middle of a divorce, when you're not sure of who's side you're on.)
As time went on, and I became busy fighting my own battles at school (We had to leave my home of 5 years, and I had two hard school years, nearly friendless;) and at home (My mother was also beginning a relationship with a man who took a dislike to me, and everything I'd venture to say that at my age I could stand for.) As life had continued, I've realized that I forgive him now for what he did to me. I do not condone what he did at any point in the whole thing, but I can try to sympathyze with him, and mend my fences.
I think that was Jane's attitude as she matured. She realized that life was too short to hold grudges, and she realized that she could forgive Mrs. Reed for the wrongs done to her, even if she could not condone them. But, a lot of this involves time and distance from the events, so the pain one felt is lessened, and you can back away from the event with the perspective necessary. People do each other wrongs every day, but you really should seperate the action from the person.
(Don't be too impressed. When I argue with my sisters, I can't always remember this doctrine. Also, I do understand the people who can't always do this, because, hey, we're all human, aren't we?) :)
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.