“If we really understood and remembered that life was impermanent, we would do everything we could to make the other person happy right here and right now. If we spend twenty-four hours being angry at our beloved, it is because we are ignorant of impermanence.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh, Taming the Tiger Within
I received an apology on Friday night from someone who owed me nothing for something that happened long ago. I try not to define someone by their worst moment. Time and behavior had already proven it to be an outlier, there was no need for an apology. And it struck me as something I would have done. To repent for a sin of the past and make sure that the offended knew I was sorry. And none of this is necessary.
There is so much more to a person than that day that they were not their best. When we spend time thinking of the impermanence of life, we realize that it is a big waste to go through the pain of holding someone in our emotional jail. For me to really understand impermanence requires me to forgive easily, to turn the other cheek, to move on from my grudges.
And when I am at my best, I do those things. I respect the impermanence.