"I have been young and now I am old, yet never have I seen the child of a righteous man begging for bread..."
I remember, even when I don't want to. The memories are painful, especially the ones I've accrued in this lifetime. Particularly when I feel no-one is interested in what I have learned from them, and worse, when all around me seem determined to punish me for wanting to learn from them.
What are memories? Memories are the recollection of one's experiences.
Wounds are what memories leave, sometimes; scars are the result of 'getting past' the wounds that go very, very deep.
"You have to forgive to go forward." Well meaning, and well intentioned (usually) advice from mouths of those who are uncomfortable around those of us who are struggling to 'get past' the intentional infliction of wounds to body and soul. If the struggle goes on for a period of time deemed too long by those above mentioned well intentioned, the well intentioned have a habit of slipping away-they don't return calls, they avoid us in the streets, they whisper to each other that we've really become impossible...It is called secondary wounding and because it is inflicted by the very people we've turned to in our grief-friends, family, pastors, the secondary wounding is the trauma that sends us spiraling into a very bad place.
Depending on one's psychology, this bad place can take many different forms and have many different names-religious fanaticism, nervous breakdown, a life of crime from acting out, bitterness, promiscuity, complete rejection of God, Hell on Earth...
Since Thanksgiving night 1998 I have been struggling-mightily-with the mere notion of forgiveness.
I confess to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have often, these past years since I have come to understand the depth of Crusty's perfidous intentions against Fox and me, slipped far lower than anger into hate and bitterness. It has at times led me to think my very soul has been shredded.
"As often as my feet have slipped, you oh Lord, have upheld me..."
A fairly well known poem tries to reassure us that the times that we feel the farthest from God are the very times He is closest to us-we see one set of footsteps because those are His in the sands as He carries us during our most difficult times. I believe that.
Many saints write of 'the long dark night of the soul' they experience after a particularly intense spiritual experience. They write that they worry that they have missed something, since they feel so far from Him, and cannot understand why this distance is being experienced when they'd soared so very high.
Many souls who'd thought their faith in God strong enough to withstand any horror find themselves engaged in a horrific struggle equal to or actually more so after an experience that has left them staggered (consider Job's plight) and bleeding to virtual death from the pain.
Frankly, how wretched of anyone to blithly say, "You have to forgive to move on!" in that chiding tone reserved for the annoying grief stricken neighbour, sister, parishoner who just will not get over it and stop whining about the pain, and asking how to get past it all-the loss of: their child, their marriage, their livlihood, their homes, their dreams, hopes, faith, trust.
Most wretched to say we have to forgive while witholding the tools with which to forgive-the very essential information that will snap on the light in the mind and heart and show the way to the person who needs to forgive to move-on. And how useless!
Jesus taught that we must forgive, even as many as seventy times seven times that the sinner repents.
Key word? Not forgive.
Smart guy, that Jesus.
He taught us a prayer that unfortunately has had some of the meaning and intent lost in the translations. Gentle reader, you may recognize part of it although I deliver it here to you in the correct translation:
"...for Thou art willing to forgive us our tresspasses as we strive to remain willing to forgive those as trepass against us..."
Key words? Not forgive.
I know God is willing to forgive me any sin-the minute I truly admit what I have done and make every effort to make it right-to atone, in other words.
How very unfashionable, and how dreadfully inconvenient for those who will insist on playing jailhouse lawyer while in full sadistic wear; full on ready-willing-and happily able to make the victim accept the evil of the perpetrator's crimes against the victim-our society has made the very word "victim" a slur in it's sophist drive to acheive impunity!
And because God is willing, I am led to know that it is certainly the gravest of sins to with-hold a like willingess toward others while expecting it for myself.