On Forgiveness


Some things are easy to forgive, and others, well, you can’t forgive because it feels too good to hang onto the hurt.  At first, the anger feels good, like a fire burning inside you.  It gives you strength, energy, fuel for living.

But slowly, that fuel of anger burns away your happiness, it incinerates your joy.  You focus on the person you hate, who’s wronged you.  You cannot stop feeling hurt and angry.  And without knowing it, you become like the person you hate and refuse to forgive.

Wait long enough, and that hurt and anger becomes depression.  A yawning hole in need of something to fill it.  So you try things.  You smoke, you drink, you try sex and drugs.  You turn up the music, turn on the TV to drown out the thoughts always screaming in your mind.

You find these things give you a moment of rest, of happiness.  But it never lasts.  And the more you’re drawn into those things, the more they swallow you up until those once pleasurable things no longer bring an ounce or moment of happiness.

You’re stuck.

Long ago you convinced yourself that you don’t need anyone else.  You push people away, telling them that it’s none of their business.  But deep down, you want them to keep pushing past your walls to prove that they care about you.  How much pursuit is enough?

You have the choice to be miserable and let the person you can’t forgive ruin your life, or you can let them go.  The thought of them hangs on you like heavy, wet clothes.  Every movement you make, they come with you.  The idea of them makes you sick, but you won’t take off those old clothes.  You need them because you think they’ve become who you are.  So what can you do?

Forgive them.  They don’t ask for it or even acknowledge that they’ve hurt you.  They may only care about themselves and they may wrong you all over again.

But you know what?  They’re just doing what you did for all that time.  They are filled with that same anger, that same hurt, that same sadness that’s eaten them alive because somebody did the same thing to them.  They take out all of their hurt on the people around them who care about them most—just like you do.

Can you forgive someone for making the same choices that you did?

Maybe you can’t do it on your own.  Maybe you need someone to show you how it works.  Ask the guy who forgave the whole world—you, the person that wronged you, the person that wronged them—to show you how to do it.  Jesus is just waiting until you’re ready.  Can you accept his forgiveness for the wrong you’ve done in order to forgive that person who’s hurt you?

Today, the Day of your Death


Three years ago today, you passed on.  I think of you today and remember the good.

I remember your smile, the way you said “William (wee-yam).”

I remember your mischievous nature, your sharp mind.

I remember that you always made stories more exciting with your animation.

I remember your laughter.

I remember the time that we raced together in the driveway and you beat all of us kids; after all, you said, you placed 3rd in state finals when you were high school.

I remember when I was 3, you said if I cleaned my room, you’d give me a prize.  I did and my prize was a hug.

I remember the time in the grocery store when we kept dropping the broccoli on the floor thinking that we kept missing the bag, but it was because there was not a bottom to the bag.  We both laughed so hard, and you wet your pants.

I remember how you loved watching the Olympics.

I remember how you always wanted to be a contestant on Wheel-of-Fortune and how you were so good at it.

I remember how you loved to hear men sing.

I remember how you always wanted to travel more.

I remember how, on our way to Alabama, we kids dared you to hit 100 MPH in our Ford Aerostar minivan, chanting, “Put the pedal to the metal and the metal to the pedal.”  You actually did it and promptly got a speeding ticket.

I remember your favorite semi-dirty jokes you liked to tell.

I remember how much you loved to write letters–I still have all of them.

I love you and miss you, but I know you are much happier now.

If Only All Should Be So Blessed, to Live This Life of Mine

To See This Smile

For one single instant in your life, do you have the chance to see this extraordinary occurrence. Perchance you will notice out of the attentiveness of your eye and the intuitiveness of your heart. It is a smile of love, joy and pain that can never be recaptured. In that fragile part of a second, all of the world’s motives are laid plain—its magnificence, its maladies—held within the eyes of your lover. This moment, how swift! Can not be regained but will never be lost. It is the epitome of the ineffable depths of all that is to be desired, this smile. This flash of understanding in the eyes. It leaves you mournful that this smile will never again be seen and happy that it was bestowed upon you and held for all eternity.

To Wipe the Tears of a Child
Tears not of injury or selfish motives, but of fearful love for another.
Innocent love, understanding no wrong, only wishing the best for everyone.
Snuggling his head in your chest, as he tries to stifle his sobs.
You hold him, wipe his tears, and speak softly to assure him of the goodness that still exists.

To Hold the Hands of the Elderly
Yellowed, withered hands reaching out to someone, anyone who will hold them.
They are hands that were once rough and calloused from endless labor. They were hands that once found their places in sand boxes and mud holes. These hands now reaching out for yours—don’t be afraid. They are beautiful hands filled with the wisdom of life that only comes through living. Take them.

To Uphold the Lame
He was a beautiful child with ready laughter and a beautiful smile. His legs too weak and thin to hold up his brittle frame. He tottered on the metal braces which helped him stand and reached with his thin arms for strong arms to help him step. Each step a partnership, a joy, a pang of sadness. His smile so innocent, so happy. There should be no pity. Uphold him.