While cleaning out my computer files today, I came across this quote from Confederate General Robert E. Lee:
"The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly -- forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light.
"The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others."
Putting aside the gender issue, it struck me as especially relevant for these times, and on more than one level. Would anyone argue that "forbearing or inoffensive use of...power or authority" has been sadly lacking in our society of late?
And yet the words that really touched me involved the nobleness of spirit involved in forgiveness and moving on, and in avoiding a sense of moral superiority. On the same day as The New York Times posted this article to their Opinion page, I'm reminded (again) to reach for that place beyond anger.
What's done is done. Let's absorb the lessons learned and start re-building.