“Sometimes the only way to heal our wounds is to forgive the demons who caused them.”
– Dr. Ishirō Serizawa, Godzilla: King of the Monsters
He’s obviously not referring to literal, physical wounds, of course. Those heal, or they don’t, entirely based on their severity and the available medical treatment. But wounds to the heart and soul, those are much harder to deal with, both in healing and in simply enduring.
I don’t think it spoils the movie to much to say that Dr. Serizawa is speaking to a man who has suffered the pain of a most terrible loss. He has hated the creature he holds responsible ever since, and who can blame him? But when the fate of the world is at stake, he is finally able to look past his pain and help the monster. His heart is in turmoil, but that just means he’s breaking free of the pain that held it stagnant in his agony. That’s when Serizawa tells him this.
It’s true, isn’t it?
Rage can only burn for so long before it burns us up. Anger can only last so long before our hearts grow cold and sick with the poison of it. Sorrow can only be kept bottled within for so long before it drowns us. Guilt, shame, despair, and all the rest, they are all perfectly natural things to feel, but they must be kept as temporary house guests, not as our new masters, or they will certainly swallow us up entirely. They must be experienced, but not too much, or they will kill us as sure any bullet.
We need the sweet release of forgiveness in order to ever be healthy and whole and alive again.
Redemption, joy, light and life and love, these all can be ours again, but only once we let go of our pain. If we hold on to it, pain becomes our master, and we become far worse than we ever were before. Not to say that we will ever be free of pain. No, that will never happen. The things that have hurt us will always be a part of us, but we get to decide how big that part of us is. And forgiving is not the same as letting the demons walk away without consequence. It just means letting go of the burdens they heaped onto us, and letting our wounds finally close.
Forgiveness is hope. Hope is about the future. The future is about moving forward.
We may try to hold onto our pain, or we may run from it, or try to forget it, or medicate it with alcohol and drugs, or whatever else… but eventually, in order to move forward, we must let go of it.