There’s a way to be good again, said Rahim Khan to Amir in the Kite Runner. No matter what we have done, or how impossible things seem, there is a way to be good again. There is always a way. A way to redemption and to making things better. But it would be foolish that we can fix the past. We can’t What has been done is done and cannot be undone. So what do those words mean? How do we find a way to be good again? What does redemption look like?
Redemption is something that concerns the future and not the past. It can’t concern the past, nor can it alter the present, and so by default when we speak of redemption we always think of what is to come. And this is very encouraging and freeing. To think that no matter what mistakes or dirty back roads we take in our life, there is always a way to be good again. There is a way to get back on the right path so that our remaining days are better.
Redemption doesn’t fix things. It can’t fix things. It just forgives, buries everything in the past, and gives us permission to reinvent ourselves and to unapologetically become who we want to be.
This is not easy. If you have read or intend to read the Kite Runner, you’ll realize what a shit show it is sometimes. No, nothing about redemption is easy, but without it is impossible to be happy.
Redemption is not forgiveness, although that plays a big part in it. Redemption is not forgiveness because it requires more. It requires sacrifice. It is easier to say you forgive someone, but it is a lot tougher to redeem them and fight off the temptation to judge then through their actions for the rest of their life.
Redemption is not easy which is probably why we write novels and make movies about revenge instead. Revenge is very satisfying and culminates in someones destruction. It feels good. It leads to a climax, but in the end it can’t help but leave us empty inside, asking ourselves and now what?
Redemption is the opposite of revenge. It doesn’t feel good. It is a struggle every step of the way. It doesn’t really feel satisfying and it certainly doesn’t culminate in anything. It just keeps going.
In a way redemption is the ability to wipe away all the misdirected paint on a canvas and make it blank again, and if not black, at least ready to be painted over.
Never forget that there is a way to be good again. No matter what it is you think you’ve done, or more importantly haven’t done yet with your life. There is a way to be great again. A way to live like you’ve never lived before. To be the person the world has never met but would love to, given the chance and opportunity.
I am extremely grateful for my love of literature. Aristotle was right. I have learned much about myself and the world I am in through fiction. I am able to avoid mistakes and understand what it means to live meaningfully without having to go through some of the ugliness that surrounds me.
There is a way.
There is a way to be good again.
You just have to begin. You have to keep going and you can never stop.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Volka Nolmez.