In birth, two people go in and three come out. In death, one person goes in and none come out.This is a “cosmic joke” ‘told by Martin Amis’ (Zadie Smith, Dead Man Laughing, – The New Yorker.)
I believe a third dimension can be slotted in.
In forgiveness, one person goes in and two come out. This is because forgiveness, the act itself, is an extension of oneself, especially when it is comes unbidded and is sincere.
It is the deliberate bifurcation of our humanity, a searching plunge into our deepest earthliness – that moment when a person decides to absolve another, a neighbor, a harm-giving neighbor, he extends himself, splits into two bodies, both belonging to him.
The one, wounded, the other, healed.
Perhaps, this is why it is difficult at times. The wounded body, operating from a place of powerlessness, stakes a claim to rage, to blame-putting, to offence-taking, and these are all sweet, outside-our-body things to do.
The healed, meanwhile, is peace-driven, calm as undisturbed rivers, laid-back and yet, silently powerful. It is a place devoid of feelings, and because these feelings which belong to the wounded body have been dismissed, we feel the forgiveness is, in fact, to the other person’s advantage.
Whereas the feelings instigated by the wounded body, the hurt which occupies our skin with us, convinces us that as long as we hold on to the memory of the offence, no matter how little or big, we’re in charge, the power resides with us and that hence, we have the advantage.
If two people are going to emerge, one person is going to have to trust the process enough to extend themselves first. Especially when an offender doesn’t ask to be forgiven.