When I was a little girl, I found a baby snake tangled up in a spiderweb in my garage. I pulled him out from the main web, but there were so many old sticky threads caught around him that he couldn’t move. So I sat down and picked at the webs, careful not to hurt him, until he was completely free.
Then I picked him up in my hands and went to carry him to the backyard to show my grandmother, and to let him go in the garden. Halfway there he wriggled free of my hands. Before I could stop moving, he fell underfoot. I stepped on him. The little guy was not coming back from that, and I was devastated.
Last night, I saw my cat peering under kitchen cabinets and the refrigerator as if he was hunting something, but I didn’t see anything, and so I wrote it off. Minutes later my husband picked up what he thought was a moth that our cat had destroyed, but was actually a small frog, so covered and tangled in hair and dust, so stiff, that he didn’t even appear to be alive.
He immediately showed me and we rushed to free the little frog from the cat hair, dust, and grime that was wrapped so tightly around him. My husband held him under running water and tried to pull at the junk, but it strained the tiny frog’s delicate limbs, and we feared hurting him. So I went and got my tiniest scissor.
“He’s not going to make it. I don’t think he’s even alive, honey,” my husband said.
“Can you see him breathing?” I asked. We peered down at the frog. No movement.
“He’s not going to make it,” my husband repeated.
I blew a small puff of air onto the wet and tangled frog in his hands, and saw his throat pulse, and his eyes blink.
“No. I can fix him.” I argued.
“He’s a goner.”
“We don’t give up on the tiny animals!”
I got together a small bath of water to soak the frog, and so that the dust and grime could drift away as I carefully clipped at it. Slowly the hair drifted off in clumps, and I pulled it from the water. The frog blinked. I gently blew another puff of air on him, and he kicked, shedding more of the bindings. A few more clips, and the little guy leaped straight from the tupperware and onto my cutting board.
“He’s good! He’s alive!” I shouted to my husband in the other room.
A few more dips in the water, a few more clumps of fur removed, and the squirmy guy was free. I brought him outside, placed him under the tiger lilies by our porch, and saw his tiny little shadow leap into the dark.
I think forgiveness is something that we have to create for ourselves. It is not something given. It is experienced.