I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

I have three thoughts for you today–I guess I’m making up for lost time—and this is election season so there is a lot on my mind.  In Haines on October 3rd we will vote for a new mayor, three assembly members, and the entire planning commission— that’s a lot of potential change. There are many choices to make, which is good– people are running. I have been thinking about that, and also about forgiveness – that’s why I go to church, because I struggle to forgive a few folks who made life miserable for me when I served in local government. I’m working on it. Which may be why I laughed out loud when I read this one again today (I keep a pile in a folder) —

“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” – Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

Felt humbled by this one:

“We may be surprised at the people we see in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.” – Desmond Tutu

And am hopeful, thanks always to the Marsh Chapel Rector Bob Hill, and the sermon I listened to this morning from Boston University that focused on forgiveness.

“Change can happen. Real change, for the good, in real time, can come. There is in the human heart, sometimes dormant but always present, the capacity to turn around, to repent, to move again forward, to change.” – Rev. Dr. Robert Alan Hill

He invited me– it felt like he was talking directly to me—to forgive. He said something so obvious, and very important—and similar to what I told a group of visiting conservationists in Haines last night—that in communities there is always conflict, always intractability – and that means standing your ground, but also forgiving others who do the same, learning to live with them, making room for our common loves, concerns and needs and trusting that we will survive the disagreement, because we do. There is no such thing as winner take all in communities or families, or even congregations. Change can and does come, always — sometimes, maybe often, like peace arrived to Yeats’ at his cabin– dripping slow–  The one thing I know for certain after living in a small community my entire adult life, is that everyday there is an opportunity to practice humility and forgiveness.