Monday, December 05, 2005

Revenge & Forgiveness

Checked Google.

Results 1 - 10 of about 35,600,000 for revenge
Results 1 - 10 of about 11,800,000 for forgiveness

In have been struggling with the word, 'forgiveness'. So I went to the dictionary and the Thesaurus. I have highlighted words which struck me in my search.

revenge - noun. Definition: retaliation
Synonyms: animus, attack, avengement, avenging, counterblow, counterinsurgency, counterplay, fight, getting even, ill will, implacability, malevolence, rancor, repayment, reprisal, requital, retribution, return, ruthlessness, satisfaction, sortie, spitefulness, vengeance, vengefulness, vindictiveness
revenge -verb. Definition: retaliate
Synonyms: avenge, defend, fight back, fix, get, get even, give comeuppance, hit back, justify, kick back, make reprisal, match, pay back, pay off, punish, reciprocate, redress, repay, requite, retort, return, score, settle up, settle with, square, venge, vindicate

get, get even, get revenge, hurt, pay back, punish, take retribution

forgive - verb.Definition: pardon
Synonyms: absolve, accept apology, acquit, allow for, amnesty, bear with, clear, commute, condone, efface, exculpate, excuse, exempt, exonerate, extenuate, forget, laugh off, let off, let pass, make allowance, overlook, palliate, pardon, pocket, purge, release, relent, remit, reprieve, respite, spring,

More words: absolve, amend, appease, atone, atone for, compensate, correct, do penance, excuse, forgive, make amends, rectify, redeem, redress, remedy, square things
abandon, absolve, discharge, dispense, drop, excuse, exempt, forgive, let go, pardon, privilege from, release, relieve, remove, spare
become lenient, disarm, forgive, give in, mollify, relax, relent, show mercy, soften, touch
be big, bear with, blink at, condone, disregard, excuse, forgive, handle, let go, let off, let pass, let ride, live with, play past, stand for, stomach, string along, take, tune out, at
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.1.1)Copyright © 2005 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

For me, the word 'forgiveness' is much too loaded. It seems both over-passive - 'let this be done to you, and suffer it as a victim' - and too damn difficult. It has moral and theological baggage trailing after it. I do not like the word 'forgiveness'. I can use some of the other words though. I can let go. I can live with.

I'm hopeful. If I can come up with a definition of exactly how the hell I feel about all this, then I can be less tired and more cheerful. I am exhausted and struggling at the moment, I need to cry a lot and I can't. I am not sleeping very well. I need absolution, compassion, release.

Release from myself, mostly: I am still struggling with the guilt of what, and who I walked away from on that carriage. I still hear the screams before I go to sleep. I am First Aid trained yet I walked away from the dying and injured. I could have stayed. But I didn't.
The person who is hardest to forgive is myself.
Everything I have done, written, said, lived, since 7th July has been an attempt to make up for walking away from the man who was badly injured - and who looked at me, and whom I walked away from, out of the train, leaving him there.
I cannot forget what I saw, what I heard. I don't think I ever will. It is so much easier to deal with hurt done to yourself than to see it done to other people.

Just found this site too: about forgiveness

Going to have to sleep on all this, I'm shattered. And I knocked off the sleeping pills a month ago, damn.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think this is your most revealing, and honest, posting of the many, and that's saying something (it's been and is a powerful and insightful journey, with you on and after that - not 'your' please, tube train). Finally you come up against forgiveness, not of the bomber(s), but, crucially, of yourself - for walking away, not helping that man and the others who cried out, were screaming, died while you were saved. I believe it's not the bomber you feel you have to forgive, but yourself. Survivor's guilt, the walker away from the dead and injured, the loneliness of the left behind alive whilst others perished.

But you could have done very little, first-aider or not, to help, and your first human instinct, having checked yourself over for missing limbs, hands, was to save yourself and let the professionals do their job. You are not a saint, none of us are, and we shouldn't berate ourself for it. And more, much more, you have given through these ever-deeper postings, Kings Cross United, and your published pieces, than you could have done on that day. You held hands, supported and encouraged others, survived. That's enough, for God's sake (and I don't believe in a god). You have much much more to give, still. You can, as you say, finally let go. Your journey is far from over, I believe, but now it's a different kind, a writer's, a healer through words, a woman who knows what it is to be alive and can remind those of us who have forgotten, or who have not had the privilege of being saved, not had the value of those glimpses of our real selves, in the dark of that train.


December 06, 2005 11:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rachel - On July 7th, you saw and felt things that no-one should ever have to see and feel.

But it was not you who created that situation. What happened was not your fault. You're a human being. You did the best you could at the time, and that was all that you could do. You're doing all you can now, and making a fantastic job of it.

December 16, 2005 5:13 pm  

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