A woman once fancied love as mayonnaise. She hadn’t any to spread, even though she was a kind person and genuinely wanted to. Her friend told her, “we’ll find the mayonnaise,” but you could tell in her tears that she didn’t quite believe him. I, like her, do not believe him. And I have tears too.
It’s another simple, yet absurd challenge to do all the good you can. Today, hundreds of voters are doing the hard work of that good, trying their best to find the good in systems and situations that have already done harm. I have yet to discover a part of myself that can muster political mayonnaise, but I admire those who do. I encourage the voting reader to continue to spread the mayonnaise you have for those who don’t. And I offer you many prayers, because in the midst of this confusing time, you have tears too.
I want to offer a challenge today for you, but mostly and fully for me, of forgiveness. Forgiveness is good and simple, and like John Wesley’s annoying rules, absurd. And we tend to skip over articles and talks of forgiveness because “yeah, we got it.” We know we should forgive, but haven’t got the mayonnaise.
Alain de Botton says that the reason why most of us are so unforgiving to the flaws of others is because we’ve encountered those flaws at moments when they’ve damaged us.
We know that it’s impossible to go through childhood and adolescence unscathed, and that many of us, as a result, are warped adults. But because we have the smallest of ideas of how frustrating we also are, and because the flaws of others do us harm, forgiveness is really just the mayonnaise we may never find.
I recently discovered subtypes of the enneagram, and that I am a Sexual Four. When taking subtypes into account, this is described as the meanest of all the types. I understand that typology doesn’t define us, and can be a tool for growth and redemption, but even before this discovery, I already confessed in a “do no harm” post, that “all I do is hurt people.” And so today, as we prepare for our final Evolve, as we vote, as we remember the work of doing all the good we can, I’m still stuck in the harm.
I need a lot of forgiveness. A lot of mayonnaise. A lot of good. And I’ve gotten that, from friends and mentors and pastors and family members. I’m so very spoiled in the amount of mayonnaise people had to find for me, spread for me, give up for me.
Think of the forgiveness you’ve had too. Think of how the harm you’ve done has been excused, defended, and redeemed. Maybe even perhaps sometimes by the meanest type on the enneagram.
If you’re in a tight community like CCW, a community who works together, eats together, plays together, and wrestles with the uncertainties of faith and adulthood together, there are going to be times when forgiveness is the most good you can do.
Forgiveness is the bread on which love is spread. You can’t have love– you can’t have mayonnaise, without letting go of the unhelpful anger, resentment, and bitterness you have toward yourself and others.
When we do harm, it destroys so quickly. When we do good, it rebuilds at a slower pace. We can’t sit on our apologies and forgiveness. We must give them quickly and readily and with intentionality as we begin the very hard, very long, very necessary work of doing all the good we can.
You are not the harm you do. You are not the good you do. You are good. This means that you have the capacity to heal and grow, to apologize and forgive, to move on and forward.
To spread love like mayonnaise.