A few days ago, I watched "Frozen," a Tony-nominated play. "Frozen" revolves around three characters: a serial killer, a victim's mother, and a psychiatrist. It was an excellent play with fantastic performances from all the actors, especially the victim's mother. Afterward, at the reception, I stalked one of the actresses enthusiastically. I'm pretty sure I scared her into going home early because she clammed up, looked petrified, and backed away from me slowly.
The play features heavy themes of forgiveness and guilt. The play unfolds over the course of several decades, as the serial killer rots away in prison and the victim's mother struggles to cope. Although the sexual assault and murder of the child is described briefly, most of the play deals with the aftermath of the act. How do you forgive someone who has killed your child? Is it even possible to let go? Is the psychiatrist correct when she concludes that there are no "crimes of evil," only "crimes of symptom"?
The play suggests that forgiveness is a sort of "unfreezing" transformation. We encounter distasteful incidents, threats to our security and happiness, difficult people... and our sense of humanity stiffens. We thaw out by learning to deal with our emotions.
The play really struck a chord with me. No, not the serial killer part, but the part about learning to forgive and practicing it. Sometimes I find myself freezing up only to quickly thaw out later. The process changes a person, softens them up.