The Bridge to Forgiveness: Stories and Prayers for Finding God and Restoring Wholeness

The Bridge to Forgiveness: Stories and Prayers for Finding God and Restoring Wholeness

by Karyn D. Kedar


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Embrace forgiveness as a spiritual principle and discover a new closeness with the Divine.

Forgiveness is a spiritual path that you embark on with intention and vision, purposefully seeking to bridge the gap between your hurt and suffering and your sense of wholeness and resilient inner light—the light of God.

This inspiring guide for healing and wholeness supplies you with a map to help you along your forgiveness journey. Deeply personal stories, comforting prayers and intimate meditations gently lead you through the steps that allow for the evolution of forgiving—loss, anger, acceptance, learning, forgiveness and restoration. Tapping both ancient and contemporary sources for the nourishment and strength needed as you seek to rekindle inner peace, this book tenderly whispers encouragement as you are brought to—and realize you are able to cross—your own bridge to forgiveness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580234511
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 06/01/2011
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar teaches matters of the spirit to groups throughout the U.S. She is senior rabbi at Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in the Chicago area, and the inspiring author of The Bridge to Forgiveness: Stories and Prayers for Finding God and Restoring Wholeness; Our Dance with God: Finding Prayer, Perspective and Meaning in the Stories of Our Lives and God Whispers: Stories of the Soul, Lessons of the Heart and contributed to May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism —Yizkor; Who by Fire, Who by Water —Un'taneh Tokef and All These Vows —Kol Nidre (all Jewish Lights).

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stories and prayers for finding God and restoring wholeness


Copyright © 2007 Karyn D. Kedar
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-58023-324-8

Chapter One

The Bridge

Forgiveness is a path to be walked.
There are steps along the way:
loss, anger, acceptance, learning,
forgiveness, restoration.

And along the way, you will come upon a bridge.
When you step upon it, it will carry you,
support you, connect you to another side of life,
a side waiting to be discovered.

Forgiveness is a perpetual journey.
There are many bridge crossings.
Each restores a bit more of what you have lost.


The Stepping-Stones

Forgiveness is a like a bridge. It carries you over an expanse to the side of life that is softer, kinder, easier to bear. It is a shift of perspective, a new way of seeing our world, a different way of experiencing our inner life. If life is really a journey, then forgiveness is a main avenue, a path to life renewed. And along the way, there are stepping-stones to carry you through: loss, anger, acceptance, forgiveness, learning, and restoration. With each step, a new perspective is gained.

Forgiveness is often understood as an act of unselfish, unconditional love, an act in which we learn to "forgive and forget," maybe even to "turn the other cheek." That is not what is described in this book. After bearing witness to evil such as the Holocaust, genocide, and other acts of terror, we search for a new paradigm. There should be no forgetting of evil acts, no condoning of offense, sin, hatred. To forget is to run the risk of allowing these evils to happen again. Yet at the same time, to hold within us the horror and pain of every offense diminishes our lives. Resentment, anger, and fear must be released from within us so that we may restore our inner light, regain a sense of life's purpose, and reinvigorate our energy and optimism, so we can live with goodness and love.

I have come to understand that this journey, this path, this way of being in the world has many stages. They are steppingstones in a journey that is perpetual and unending. Each step restores a bit more of what we have lost. Each step leads to greater wisdom and understanding, to a deeper sense of life's meaning and purpose. We do not forget. Rather, we take what we have experienced and learn to live a different way. We do not turn the other cheek; we take the pain of an assault and understand that to live a loving life we must release the anger. We do not condone; we accept our lives and search for ways to restore the light within us that has been diminished.

Every offense leads to a sense of loss. A bit of wholeness is cracked or chipped or shattered. We lose a bit of trust, security, or faith. Or some of our sense of wonder. Every pain inflicted upon us may cause us to lose our way, to forget the meaning and purpose of our lives. But mostly with every hurt, the light that is within us is darkened or dimmed.

Understandably, loss creates anger. We are justified in our anger when we experience hurt and pain. We are certainly justified in being angry at the injustices of the world. I have come to believe that anger is a necessary step toward forgiveness; without it, there is a certain denial or repression. But anger is also dangerous. Though we must feel the anger, we must also know when to release it before it consumes us. We must learn to turn anger into motivation, lest it devour us. We long to rid the world of insanity, to rid our lives of all that is not good, of whatever does not serve the good in us. The search for God is the fight to relieve ourselves and the world of suffering. With every breath, we inhale the possibility of healing and of holiness. Loss then becomes anger, and anger can then motivate us toward change. And once we can release the anger that we have felt, we can begin to understand the need for acceptance.

To live life fully is to accept what has become of you. Acceptance is not acquiescence. It is not giving in, and it is not giving up. Acceptance is the compassionate embrace of yourself and your place in the world: without judgment, without fear, without regret. You are who you are. You are not who you are not. Every story has pain and loss and, despite all this, our life force is resilient. The soul yearns to reconcile the curses and the blessings of life by finding meaning and purpose. Everything that you have experienced has led you to this moment in time. And this moment in time has the potential to be filled with blessing and with an awareness of life's wonders and miracles.

Forgiveness is not condoning the wrong in the world or the offenses we experience in our lives. It is not forgetting. Forgiveness is a state of being. It is a bridge that carries us over the hurt we have experienced, leading us to a life of greater peace and acceptance. If you step upon it, it will carry you, support you, and connect you to another side of life, a side waiting to be discovered.

Always, there is the bridge to be crossed-an arch high above an abyss of fear and mistrust that carries you away from loss and anger and toward more acceptance, toward a life of learning. We can learn from everything that life presents to us. We learn from loss, from anger, from survival, from perseverance. Life is learning and growing.

And in the learning is an opportunity for restoration. You can restore your faith, your trust, your optimism, your sense of beauty. You do not go back to the way you were when life seemed simpler, because now you know that life is not simple. It is a complicated path of pain and joy, of disappointment and achievement, of betrayal and love. And now that you know that, and accept the impact that it has on you, you can regain a sense of wholeness and restore the light within.


Excerpted from THE BRIDGE TO FORGIVENESS by KARYN D. KEDAR Copyright © 2007 by Karyn D. Kedar. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Like a Strand of Hair xiii

The Bridge 1

The Stepping-Stones 3

It's a Matter of Principle 6

My Rock 8

Choosing 9

An Invitation to an Awakening 11

Love and Fear 13

The Call 15

Loss 17

Forgiveness Is Not an Emotion 19

Path in the Ice 21

The Ghost of Love 23

Moments Are Finite, Yet Forever 24

Diminished Light 26

The Darkness of the Soul 29

Anger 31

Forgiveness and Evil: A Paradigm Shift 33

The Commandment to Act 35

Memory 36

The Paradox of Fire 37

Light and Warmth 41

The Case for Anger 42

Life Defined 44

Searching for Focus 45

Amen: Saying "Yes" 48

Whispers 50

Acceptance 53

Pragmatic Spiritual Peace 55

The Truth 56

The Moon 57

Tip Toward Compassion: Concede the Moral High Ground 59

Why Is Not the Question 62

Struggling with God 65

Moving On: The New Home 66

Dance Through the Pain 69

Tenderness 72

Tug-of-War 74

Forgiveness 77

Holding On, Letting Go 79

I Know Nothing 80

The Choice to Be Sustained 82

The Gates of Repentance 84

"Esa Enai-I Lift My Eyes" 86

Looking for Light in the Shadows: Rakefet 88

In the Shadow of Your Wings 91

The Cemetery 92

From a Mother to Her Girls 94

Learning 97

Letting Go 99

With All My Being 101

God, Divine Source of Love 104

Learning from It All 105

Ambiguity and Control 107

Where Is God? 109

Learning to Yield 111

Restoration 113

Redemption: The Day Lilies 115

Rebirth 118

Wonder 119

Protection 121

Energy 123

Forgiving God 125

Dancer 127

Beaver Creek 128

Zero Visibility 132

Fear and Hope 134

The Silence Behind the Quiet 135

Quiet My Soul, O Holy One 137

Epilogue 139

The Bridge 141

Perpetual Crossings 143

Suggestions for Further Reading 145

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