This I Believe

Gary - Salem, Oregon
Entered on December 29, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: forgiveness
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I believe in a genuine desire to “move on”.

Six months after making racist statements at a traffic stop, Mel Gibson said he’s “moving on”. Instead of taking more questions about Vice President Cheney’s hunting accident, the White House press spokesman said he was “moving on”. The United States is trying to “move on” from wherever it is in Iraq, but no one seems to know where it’s moving to.

I’m sensitive to this concept of moving on because I’ve found myself saying it at various times during the course of my marriage. Like most people, we’ve had our share of disagreements and problems. Often when I’ve tried to talk to my wife about them, I’ve ended up saying I don’t want to talk anymore, I just want to move on. I’ve accepted what I’ve done and, if necessary, I’ve apologized, let me just move on.

That’s why when I heard Mel Gibson say he wanted to move on, it struck a hollow chord in me because I really don’t know what it means. Where does he want to move on to? To me moving on to him looks more like a strong desire to put as much distance as he can from wherever he’s been. Same with Vice-President Cheney’s hunting accident, same with the United States in Iraq.

Maybe forgiveness is our destination, but how will we know when we’re there? Can I forgive myself, or does it have to come from my wife, my children, or my God? Mel’s moving on but he doesn’t seem to care if he’s forgiven by anyone else. Maybe he’s just forgiven himself, and doesn’t care about the fans who watch his movies. George Bush said George Washington is still being judged; therefore, history will be the judge of what he’s done in Iraq. Thus, wherever it is the United States moves on to after Iraq will be a place none of us living now will ever know.

I believe in moving on because it’s what you need to do to continue in life. Some things happen – you lose a job through no fault of your own, you suffer the loss of a loved one – although I do wonder if a parent can ever really move on after the loss of a child. In these cases you move on because you have to, because there is no questioning the source of what caused your grief or your misfortune. Other misfortunes, those that we create, like what I’ve let happen to myself at times, like what happened with Mel Gibson, like Bush leading us into war in Iraq, seem to take on a different flavor of moving on that need to be judged by a different standard, a higher standard. Actions and time become much more significant. Otherwise they are just words. Move on.