I was walking in the neighborhood. A rabbit got scared, ran into the street, and got hit by a car. It was part of my daily involuntary participation in ugliness.
Two things I heard at the same time: the muffled sound that ended the rabbit’s life and the voice that justified in my head my lack of responsibility. I had no intention to scare the rabbit and I actually rejoiced when I first saw him. By all accounts, I seemed morally and legally not-guilty. I am not-guilty.
But the voice soon got silenced. It was the muffled sound of the car that silenced it, although the car was already far away. In that silence I remembered my non-moral responsibility. I do participate in this world and by my participation I contribute to its ugliness. It is not about cause and effect; this is just how things are. In this world, fallen as it is, ugliness takes place everywhere, and my example with the rabbit is insignificant if we compare it with tragedies all over the place. However, the rabbit story is part of it. The rabbit and I are ingredients of the large soup that the world is (I heard this analogy someplace, but I don’t remember who said it). My belonging to it makes me part of its beauty and of its ugliness: I contribute to the taste of this soup. And since I participate in ugliness most of the time, regardless of whether I want it or not, I need forgiveness. It is not the moral or juridical forgiveness, but rather the curative one. If the world suffers and I am part of it, then the world and I need to be cured. Ugliness as disease took place this morning, when the rabbit died. Ugliness as disease takes place when we harm others. Asking for forgiveness is asking to be with the world in its healing process.
When he saw me walking, the rabbit did not come to me, but ran away. The symptom of brokenness, ugliness, and separation. Forgive me, little rabbit.