Monday, November 22, 2010

Forgiveness



Forgiveness 
by John Greenleaf Whittier

My heart was heavy, for its trust had been 

Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong; 
So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men, 
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among 
The green mounds of the village burial-place; 
Where, pondering how all human love and hate 
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late, 
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face, 
And cold hands folded over a still heart, 
Pass the green threshold of our common grave, 
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart, 
Awed for myself, and pitying my race, 
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave, 
Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!

* * * * *
It was the pain. I remember it very well. It was fresh and new and it reeked of broken dreams. I remember my first betrayal and I remember each face that it came with. It came with young girls and sugar coated lies. It came with passive aggressive friends and egotistic games. The perfume of heartbreak seemed to serenade my entire existence at the time and although I knew best to take the higher road, that road felt lowly to the power of the opposite force taking over. I felt alone and I felt betrayed. I often found myself feeling more betrayed by what I valued than to what others did. Like my belief in goodness and love held no match to that other force.  Beliefs did not keep my heart from feeling the blows.

Until one day I realized that the right thing will always be the right thing. And I cared more about the right than about the pain. Pain in its true form is a temporary state, acute none the less, but it passes through you like any other affliction. Pain like rain is here and then gone. It's remarkable how minds are so powerful they can take the storm with them wherever they go. Time may pass but we can still carry that pain. It gets heavy, probably as heavy as clouds must feel right before they let the rain drops sky dive. But we go through life heavy. In denial of the pain, we call it a defense.



I have often failed to forgive in its most idealistic form of execution. I have a signature move, its called forgive the event but not the person. Oh how I love to resort to this time after time. I find myself feeling proud and intoxicated by my glorious execution of forgiveness. I pat myself on the back and envision how Jesus, Gandhi and Mother Teresa are rejoicing somewhere enjoying non-alcoholic pina coladas and cheering me on. I gladly accept this imaginary situation as completely plausible and move on.

I forgive the event in the sense that I don't carry it with me. It doesn't define me. It only teaches me. I don't repeat the event, I don't relive it with others. I let go of the negativity of the event and take the goodness that followed. Of course this takes time, this takes looking at yourself with love, this takes control and it takes a big open heart. None of these things are easy. But they are actions I aspire to perfect. I hope others aspire to some form of this as well.

But forgiveness is not some detachment. This is what I have and still carry with me to this day, a detachment. I look upon those people that have wronged me and often see no human aspects. I see them void of a personality and I try my best to even forget they have feelings of any sort, my mission instead of wishing them well is forgetting they exist. I try to not face them, and I think this is in fear of the pain. What pain? Some illogical pain my neurosis has conjured up. I mean, what pain can my ex-best friend from 5th grade possibly bring me? 


And so it seems that yours truly develops grudges. Not ill wishing grudges (OK fine sometimes they are ill wishing), but grudges that forget the human aspect. The fact that one should be thankful for those heartbreaks and that those heartbreaks came from people. People like you and me, people with problems, people with sad hearts and pain. Your heartaches came from people who have yet not grown to see the world as a whole, people who live only for themselves. Your sadness came from someone who did not know what to do with all his anger and placed it upon you. 


Forgetting their faces means not realizing we are all headed in the same direction, a cozy little hole about six feet deep. I have recently been a total bitch with people who have tried to reconnect with me. I have been a snobby little elementary school girl all over again, in the name of keeping the memory of someones wrongs alive. In the name of forever making them relive their mistakes I have insisted on being rude, instead of open and happy for their internal growth (whatever, hopefully, that might be). 

We all make mistakes and we all sometimes (even subconsciously) do things intentionally that manufactures someones pain. If I have to be the first one to admit it, I will. I have hurt people purposely. With a shitty comment and with a sarcastic joke, I have hurt people. If you must know, some things I am not brave enough to type (in anticipation to hate mail). I try to envision how I would feel if every time I saw someone I knew they just reminded me of my short comings (from " X " years ago!). I try to understand how some people don't need you to be their friends, they just need your support in forgiving themselves. 

We are all terminally ill on this ride called life. You and that girl who started that rumor about you in high school will die one day. You and that guy who slept with your best friend (and your ex-best friend) will eventually meet the same ends. Its incredibly foolish to limit your kindness in this world. Everything that has happened has passed and is no longer taking place except in your mind. Let it go. I am not saying drop it all today but to aim honestly at letting it go with time. What is the point of being on this terminal track only to take with you the bad stuff. I say start collecting goodness, be kind, try your best. I will try with you.

And man I wont even get into the subject of forgiving yourself because that's a whole other ball park. But I do know that forgiveness in itself is internal and external and ultimately the effects are universal.






Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nagging Children Once Upon a Time


Oh the drama of being a writer! Its more of a personal drama, like most things go. The pain of having this nagging child that needs attention but has to deal with an obviously over worked, over booked, lazy, desperately slow but very sorry mother. It seems that unlike these super writers I encounter in my imagination, I am lacking in consistency, time, and am obviously too self involved to actually take part in what I want to be involved in. 

I suppose this is not a writer's issue but a human issue. I would love to be further involved in a lot of things like... I don't know...spending time with my family. But the truth of the matter is that I don't. I give my extra time to my family and I give most of my time to the so called "important things". I have encountered a place in my life where I realize I am never going to have time unless I make it, proactively. Unless I realize that time should go to what makes me happy and what I am most passionate about, unless I change my perception of time all together, I will never have any.

The first problem us mortals face is the misconception of time which honestly I myself cant say I am above. We believe we will have more time in the future than we do now. Trust me I have lived for 22 years and each year gets more hectic than the next. Responsibility on top of responsibility. Secondly we believe we can save time. We have 24 hours everyday, and you cant put some hour away in your pocket to use later. So if I ask you out for lunch and you say, "Sorry I don't have time" what you really are telling me is that you value some other event more than going to lunch with me at that specific moment. And so for putting my writing and family time to the side, I am valuing other responsibilities more.


Changing your perception of time is easier said than done. Paying attention is as easy as quantum physics. By paying attention I mean being there exactly where you are with nothing else on your mind but what is occurring at that particular moment. I guess that is why people fall into addictions because their drug of choice alters their perception to only see the now. My drug of choice is really cold ice tea. I pause, I sip, and I realize I don't care about anything else right now because this tea is so good. 

    Besides my love affair with ice tea, there are a few other things that truly make me feel present and right where I'm supposed to be. Reading is one, meditation, the right friends, the person I am in love with, a random child in the street, these things make me pay attention. I feel we are all over worked, not necessarily by actual responsibility but by our neurosis. My ping pong mind cant dare stay in one place most of the time. I miss out on the joy of doing things for the sake of doing them, because I cant be present, involved, and attentive to them. And ultimately because I feel I don't have the time. 


I will not pretend I have the cure for our misconception of time, our lack of attentiveness and our neurosis. What I have is something I am passionate about that I try to make time to do, I write. I do not write consistently on this blog, primarily because I fear if people read my first drafts they would become nauseated by an unrefined ridiculously illogical presentation of ideas. But I understand that although writing is a pain in the ass that takes time, effort and lots of chocolate covered pretzels, It releases me from my self involvement. That is what the best things in life do, they release you from yourself to a bigger picture. Love is nothing but involving yourself in something other than yourself. 

I hope you make an effort to release yourself from the misconception of time. I hope you listen to that little nagging child inside of you saying, "pay attention to me". I told that kid to shut her mouth for a couple of weeks, but I felt guilty and ashamed. One sure thing is that guilty and ashamed are not words to be ignored, but faced. Ultimately I am just happy I wrote this, yes I had to be in class right now. Yes, I have a 15 page paper due. But writing this is taking care of my child, and I love my child.



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