Monday, January 23, 2012

Violets and Patches

Newt Gingrich is the default expert on forgiveness.  He seems to know the most about that topic currently, having asked the Catholic Church for forgiveness for adultery and the many hurts that he has caused others.  Seems he forgot to ask his second wife for forgiveness.  

A quote often attributed to Mark Twain says, "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."  To me this does not sound like anything that Twain would ever have said; it is so absolutely well-written that it tickles my brain with its imagery, but it does not have the witty snap for which Twain is known.  This phrase appears to be written by someone who sought and was granted forgiveness.  

The perspective of the person who is doing the forgiving is better expressed by Edgar Watson Howe in Country Town Sayings (1911), "You can make up a quarrel, but it will always show where it was patched."  Only someone who has suffered through the healing of a tremendous hurt realizes that forgetting the quarrel is preferable, but the remaining scar is a tender reminder of how deep the hurt really was. Even if you don't dwell on the problem, memories pop up every now and then, tender to the touch.  Things will not ever be as they were before.  

My own experiences cause me to be astounded when a presidential candidate expresses that he went to the church and asked forgiveness for his many marital faux pas, as if that made every thing as it were before his indiscretions.  Life is not like that.  Behavior has consequences, both good and bad.  Even when you're sorry about something you've done and been granted forgiveness, like the slimy trail of a slug on a sidewalk, the consequences of behaviors regretted remain for all the world to see. 

Statements ascribed to Newt Gingrich are found all over the internet like fleas on an alley cat.  The one that strikes me as being full of portent is the one about his then wife, Jackie, as found in an article on CNN:

                                                                                                                                                                                           "Leonard H. "Kip" Carter, a former close Gingrich friend, backed the contention that it was Newt Gingrich who wanted the divorce.  "He (Gingrich) said, 'You know and I know that she's not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a president,' "  Carter, who now lives in South Carolina, told CNN recently, relating the conversation he had with Gingrich the day Gingrich revealed he was filing for divorce.   Carter served as treasurer of Gingrich's first congressional campaigns.  Carter, who was a fellow history professor when Gingrich taught at West Georgia College in Carrollton, said he broke off his friendship with Newt Gingrich because of the congressman's treatment of his wife during the divorce.  Asked in an e-mail whether that conversation in 1980 occurred the way that Carter recounted, Gingrich spokesman Hammond did not respond."

This is foreshadowing at its height.  After he left two wives, he settled with the blonde beauty that is seen with him now in every campaign photo, the ever-faithful Callista, whom, apparently, Newt Gingrich thinks is young enough and pretty enough to be the wife of a president.  There she is, in all her blondness and Tiffany jewels, the becoming accessory, trotted out for the media like a trained dog, because, you see, Mr. Gingrich has wanted to be president for a very, very long time.  Everything he has done during his adult life, from marriages to divorces, has been executed with this goal in mind.  

If you have ever been forgiven of anything in your life (and I have many times), grace is certainly as sweet as the scent of violets.  For those doing the forgiving, there are some ugly patches to sew on the thing, however.  "Forgive and forget" is not ever truly possible, no matter how much we try.  Just ask Marianne Gingrich.    


  1. Amen!!!
    How did Hillary 'forgive and forget' Bill Clinton?---It is beyond me!

  2. fleas on an alley cat--wow--what imagery-I have had contact with alley cats before, and I know exactly what you mean. Larry