A funny thing happened when I set out to paint forgiveness.

I remembered the day the malamute dog chewed a hole in my rug.

It wasn’t just any rug. The summer before the chewing incident, I spent six weeks in Mexico. For some of those weeks, I worked with a gentle, dignified shepherd/weaver called Don Antonio. He taught me how to spin and weave wool. The rug in question was one we’d created together – a 4 x 5′ undyed memento.

The dog was, of course, innocent. He didn’t mean anything by it and his keeper (my roommate that semester) couldn’t be expected to watch him 24/7.

There was no way to repair the rug. I arranged the torn ends nearly together and put an iron-on piece of webbing behind it. I eventually got rid of the rug, but keep the memory of that sun splashed adobe studio, the creak and slam of the loom, the smells of lanolin and dust.

My watercolor doodle shows green threads woven together, except the disrupted area. In the next “frame” the shadow of disruption remains, but the threads are repaired. I can do in paint what I couldn’t do in life.

Still, the creative experiment reminds me that forgiveness is recognizing the wound and taking action to repair it. It may not return to what it once was, but the motions of mending give us practice in returning to wholeness.

In your journal:

  • is your idea of forgiveness affected by this story?
  • What if there was malice involved? Would that change your attitude?
  • write about a fond memory
  • tell your favorite dog story