Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize that prisoner was you. ~~~ Lewis B. Smedes

I love a port wine cheese ball. I can’t even fathom a Thanksgiving or a Christmas get-together without a port wine cheese ball being placed somewhere on the serving table. Now, I know this is not exactly elegant or even in good taste — but the port wine cheese ball makes me happy… and why deny ourselves a little happy?

I was at the grocery store recently perusing all the foods that are completely unnecessary because I made the mistake of 1) going to the store hungry, 2) going to the store without a list, and 3) going to the store with the intention of getting a few “special” things. I made my usual long stop in the cheese section and loaded my cart with sharp cheddar and shredded mozzarella and American slices and mini Babybel — and then, as if the seas had parted to show me the way, a plastic tub that read spreadable port wine. Spreadable port wine? In a plastic tub? That I could spread on a cracker and not have to worry about getting all those almonds that usually cover any good cheese ball on my cracker (I hate all those almonds). In the cart it went. I felt utterly satisfied at my find. I could practically savor the goodness of that cheap spreadable port wine cheese in a plastic tub. And here’s where my thoughts jumped from the cheese section of the grocery store and made a flying tackle on my self-deprecation…

Why the hell did I put off buying something that gave me such joy? Why didn’t I just buy the cheap plastic tub of port wine cheese earlier? Well, I think I know why… at least I think I have the beginnings of the “know why”, it came to me right there in the cheese cooler at the store. We get it in our heads that we aren’t good enough for something, that our own happiness has to be put off, that we need a reason to be kind to ourselves. We tend to perseverate on things that have happened and the whys of it all, we beat ourselves up when we should give ourselves a break, we hunker down in our protective covers when we should embrace our lives… ourselves.

It’s the human condition, I suppose — we seem programmed to loathe ourselves… or we aren’t. But, either way, we do… on occasion. We get stuck in a moment and we think we can’t get out of it. We look around for help, for guidance and everyone has walked away — maybe retreating back to their own protective covers. And there, in that moment, that moment in which we think we are stuck and have no way out — we see it… the spreadable port wine cheese in the plastic tub. And we realize… it’s ours if we want it.

I’ve come to the realization, after many ruminations, that thinking we humans (and by humans, I, of course, mean me) don’t deserve certain things in life is more commonplace than not — I don’t know why this feeling lingered for so long with me, really. I’m figuring that part out. I received this comment on a post I did recently from a wonderful new friend and blogger, Michael Lockhart. When I read the comment it made me immediately think about some events that have been taking place in my life recently. It struck me… deep — the mixed euphoria like when you cross the finish line after running a long race and you’re completely spent — you can do no more, but the act of crossing the finish line gave you the strength to think about the next race.

That comment did that for me — it shoved me on a train of thought that perplexed me, forced me to move… I gulped in a deep breath of cleansing air. I’m thinking about the next race, and the next poem, and the next blog post, and the next friend, and the next kid I get to work with, and the next time I go camping, and I’m thinking about all the things I deserve to have in my life — the people I deserve to have in my life. I am buying the cheap-tacky-spreadable-port-wine cheese ball and I am savoring every bite.

I am not without fault. I am not asking you to ignore my trepidations. I am not asking anything of you… I’m asking it of me. I am asking to be… to just be. I’m setting some prisoners free… what about you? Any prisoners you want to set free?

Life is full of these beautiful scary little moments meant to remind us of who we are and who we can be. ~~~ Sheryl Crow

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I have learned so much from God that I can no longer call myself a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew. ~~ Hafiz

I read this quote recently, shared by a friend of mine who I think is quite wonderful — kajjajja. She always makes my brain go in to this weird orbit of thought… and this quote certainly did that for me.

I’ve been having some profound conversations with my kids lately — conversations that excite me and scare me and leave me hoping I said the right thing. Many of the conversations start with a question like this, “We’re Christians, right?”

At this point my heart usually skips a beat… these are the talks that are important to get right, these are the talks that lead to many gray areas and the gray areas usually are where all the good stuff lies — or so I read somewhere.

I hesitate… I breathe…

“Are you asking for a fundamental reason or are you asking for some type of clarification on your own thoughts?”, is usually my response.

Lately, at this point, the conversation usually turns to understanding differences in people — differences that mean we are all connected and we are all separated at the same time. Gray areas.

My children have been active members of their church for years, they attend youth retreats and youth events and bible studies and they feed the homeless and they collect clothes and gifts and food for those less fortunate. They read. They meditate. They ponder.

They tell me how they corrected someone when the subject of a mosque being built at ground zero that isn’t actually a mosque and isn’t actually being built at ground zero came up in a conversation. They tell me how they corrected someone in a conversation when a derogatory remark was made about a person who is gay. Then they ask me, “If we are Christians, why do we think so differently than other Christians?”

I hesitate… I breathe…

I don’t believe that a person who happens to be Muslim has a need to hate me simply based on the fact that they are Muslim and I am not any more than you should assume that I am a member of a hatred group because I was born and raised in the south — the deep south, where I know what it means to have a rebel flag flying outside of your business.

I do not believe that my friend who shares her life with another woman is any less of a good person based on who she fell in love with anymore than you should believe that I am full of good choices considering the fact that my own marriage did not pass the test of time.

I don’t need quotes from the Bible tossed out explaining why to me. I’ve read some wonderful things from the Bible and take away from it what I felt was important — the same as you and your quotes. But what really is the difference?

I guess my point is… how can we share a religious view if what I have read and heard and understand points me towards tolerance and kindness and what you have read and heard and understand points you towards exclusion and judgement?

I hope to continue to have these conversations with my kids, I hope they never feel compelled to stay silent when they know a situation calls for a voice, I hope they continue to learn that tolerance is always needed, that kindness is always welcomed, and that thinking is a great tool.

The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness. ~~ Dalai Lama

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. ~~ Jesus of Nazareth

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