I write as an amateur on the subject. I have wronged, I have been wronged, but who hasn’t?
At present I am neutral, knowing of nobody I owe, nor anyone who owes me.
But I have memories.
What I Remember Most…
…is lost time…
The little petty stuff, the great big stuff, whether off your feed for a weekend, or wounded animal for months, it all ends up being a great waste, of time.
If You’re Like Me…
…my offenses done unto others seem so… less than… offenses done unto me. Funny how that is.
Often my apologies include the four magic words, “I didn’t mean to,” which covertly cover the obvious, that I’m in the wrong, while at the same time distancing myself from being a true bad guy, as if my do-wrong was a case of clumsy, or clueless. Now the offended party need only reply with their own four words, “I know you didn’t,” and that would be that…
On the other hand, when I’ve been wronged, I fully expect them to do unto me as I would (theoretically) do unto them (one of these days I will meet my standard (wink)), which means: 1) complete confession of all the done wrongs (points for detail); 2) sincere apology; 3) a classy (by my standards) request for forgiveness; followed by the big #4; 4) a promise to never do it again.
If you #5 me, the ole suck-up routine, that would be cherry on top.
The Poison Of Anger
All people have a Deep Within, like the yolk of an egg. For some, like my father, the Deep Within was optimism, joy, and love. His life had hard times, and he’d feel anger, but like rain on a window, it fell, it failed, it went to nothing, and the window remained, clear.
I have known – and know – a few people whose Deep Within is anger. They smile, they enjoy, but anger is there, inside them, like an oven always left on, one this, one that, and the knob goes from low to High.
I have had some of that anger, within me, which is why I think of anger in the same way I think of meth, or oxy, or an empty fifth in a brown paper bag, left where the homeless slept, as path to ruin, as self-sabotage, suicide on the slow.
Christianity, the whole Messiah thing, it’s all about forgiveness. We need it, He gave it, and as it plays between us fellow sinners, who are we to withhold it from each other if God has not withheld it from us.
Like a Bible parable come to life, I’ve watched someone turning black on the inside, like some nasty old banana, poisoned by grudge. They are right, that they were wronged, but whether the wrong was a splinter in finger, or a saber though lung, it was never as bad as it now, festered, infected, spreading, soon to cost the entire hand, or the breath of life.
There’s a lot of quotes about forgiveness, one of them being, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and to discover that the prisoner was you.”
That’s how it’s felt for me. When I’m in anger and grudge, I am alone, with bad company. All that I am, and value, creativity, my playful, dot connecting mind, my peace, my ease, my simplicity, they’re all gone, run off by anger, that greedy leech and hostage taker.
On The Receiving End
I spent most of two decades spelling god with a little g. It did not go well. When I returned, o the dumpster load of forgiveness I needed to receive.
If you read these stories, even occasionally, you know that I have a spiritual side. You also probably detect that I really try to be honest with you. So, cards on table, I talk more about praying than I actually pray. Sure, I do a lot of little shorts, Give us this day our daily bread, yadda yadda, check that off the list early morning, but for real prayers, the ones where you-know-you-got-somewhere, there’s only so many of those.
One of them happened in a prayer for forgiveness. It was me and Him, and I was ripe. “Hey, it’s me,” that’s how the prayer began. I began with a small apology, and then a bigger one, and then, like a healthy vomit, I asked for forgiveness for the great waste and clutter of it all. The prayer deepened into something above words, spirit to Spirit, a child saying Help, and what could He do, but be good Father…
When the prayer was done, I was done. I was washed. I was saturated in gratitude.
One Pope, One Role Model
Nobody has ever tried to kill me, but I’ve been betrayed, and that feels murder-ish.
In the summer of 1981 a man named Mehmet Ali Agca came to Rome to kill John Paul II. He got four shots into a little old man.
The Pope is hospitalized, time passes, his body heals. Who is to know, what John Paul thought and felt? Was he angry? That would be reasonable. Did he question God? That would be reasonable. Was the anger newly stoked, each time a cough hurt, a step hurt, another day lost? Probably.
However it happened, Pope John Paul II moved his heart, from man heart to God heart. In 1983, not long enough for me(!), he went to visit his assassin in prison.
Look at the posture. What a fine moment. What a victory over small. If the Pope can do this, over a murder attempt…can we not do similar, over our little done wrongs…
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where doing no wrong is preferable over making things right again.
Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories in book form can be found at Eighty-one, 3507 Ryan, Lake Charles. He can be reached at email@example.com.