Monday, July 22, 2013

Forgive or Die

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison. ~ Nelson Mandela

Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die. ~ Anne Lamott

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


In the bible it says you have to forgive seventy times seven. I want you to know, I’m keeping a chart.  ~Hillary Rodham Clinton 

Okay, so you get the picture. Forgiveness. That’s what I’m talking about.  Because unforgiveness is a burden too big to bear.  Ask Corrie Ten Boom.  Ask Coretta Scott King, who said that hate injures the hater more than the hated. 

Sue Monk Kidd stated, “People in general would rather die than forgive. It’s THAT hard. If God said in plain language, ‘I’m giving you a choice: forgive or die,’ a lot of people would go ahead and order their coffin.”

How it’s done   

Deanne told me a story about her estranged father, how he’d never paid her any mind, never remembered her birthday, never gave her Christmas gifts or the time of day.     
      
“I decided that I’d have to be the one who reached out to him, and if he never reciprocated, so be it. I began sending him cards on his birthday and calling during the holidays, and just checking in every so often. I’m okay with the one-sided relationship because at least I know I’ve done my part.”

She told me her story exactly when I needed to hear it most.  When someone I deeply loved had wounded me so much that I was losing sleep.  And so I took her lead and began reaching out to that person. Then I wrote the whole painful story as fiction. That’s what you do when you have to “tell the truth but tell it slant.” 

Your turn

Now I want to hear from you.  Tell me about your experience with forgiveness – or the lack thereof should that be the case.  Throw off the albatross and move on. Release it on paper now. That’s how the healing begins. 

It doesn’t have to be major league drama. Nothing is too petty. Maybe you remember when your sister chopped off your favorite doll’s beautiful hair. Or your brother swiped your pack of Juicy Fruit gum and chewed every last stick.

Or maybe it IS high drama.  Maybe your wicked stepmother stole your inheritance from you and left you penniless and homeless. Maybe your neighbor hated your barking border collie, so he turned him out of the pen while you were gone to the store one day and Falstaff has never been seen again. 

And don’t forget to forgive yourself for that stupid thing you did.   If only you hadn’t taken the shotgun and blown the skylight to smithereens when your husband didn’t get around to repairing the leak…

If only you hadn’t told your dear friend that her new job as a census worker wasn’t exactly the most respected position in the world…


Write your story in any POV you like, as prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction. It matters not.  Go!  

78 comments:

  1. The first half of my life, this is who I was: "My name is Dawn and I hate my relative." (I don't want to offer a specific, because I've moved away from that version of myself.) I harbored a great deal of bitterness and yes, outright hatred towards this relative. Some would say rightly so, if they could hear some of the horror stories of abuse this person meted out to me as an innocent and defenseless child. I never felt comfortable with the level of anger I felt towards this person, and I spent many years working towards understanding the psychology of it all. The cycles of abuse, the emotional dependency, the fact that we as humans continue those cycles NOT because we want to continue the abuse, but because it is FAMILIAR and we know how to cope within that construct.

    In the mid-90s, I found two books by psychologist and hypnotherapist Dr. Michael Newton: Destiny of Souls, and Journey of Souls. In these books, he shares case studies of regression therapy over a 20+ year career as a therapist. One case study, specifically, was life changing for me. It gave me a different perspective, a different lens to view this relative and the greater dynamic of our Soul Contracting. At that moment, healing began. Healing continues, and although that relationship will never be perfect or even comfortable and loving, it has evolved to a level of detachment that has been freeing to me. That relative will not change at this point in their life, but I have changed. I chose to take another path in the proverbial snowy wood, and as the poem says, "...that...that has made all the difference".

    I apologize for the epic length of reply, Debra! I've missed you and am happy you're back to blogging.

    Much love!

    - Dawnie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dawn, so good to hear from you and read your story. I see that you DID change your identity in a BIG way. Today, instead of hating the culprit, you’ve moved on with your life. And maybe it’s because of the trauma you suffered that you’ve become the beautiful, wise, talented soul that you are. No matter how painful the past has been, everything – everything is redeemable.

      This is such a valid point: “…although that relationship will never be perfect or even comfortable and loving… I have changed.” Key point: I have changed. Good advice for everyone in such a relationship. True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” Thank you Dawnie! <3

      Delete
    2. I can relate to this Dawn as I am going through this myself concerning my first mom. Bless your heart!

      Delete
    3. Tameka, THERE’S a story. Your first mom. Have you written about this?

      Delete
    4. Hey Debra! Yes, I have in fiction, but I plan on including my experiences in a memoir as well.

      Delete
  2. In every memory that reaches my depths when I pray or rest, I would recall how this and that sister reacted to me when I had my depression ~ how I felt I was abandoned, how much patience they had to put up with me. I have kept quiet for a very long time presupposing it was out of respect that I did. But I wasn't doing myself a favor accumulating negative thoughts about them. Some have tried to reach out even talking to my mother on the phone but I refused, I wasn't ready.

    I told a friend, I would know if I were healed if I'd see one of them. Only then, would I be able to assess how I truly feel.

    Then I recalled, Ah, but yes, I have talked to one of them. And yes, I have forgiven when I told them I am happy now.

    Remember that post of my dream of a mass? That is exactly it Debra. The negative thoughts dissipated.

    Welcome back Debra! Its wonderful to see you here again. Lots of love! *full of joy*



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melissa, it seems to me that you are healed. From what I know of you today, from what I’ve observed and read, you are strong in faith and wisdom, which leads me to that conclusion: that either you are healed already or well on your way!

      And that dream, yes, I do remember that one. What a powerful image! God gave you that dream, you know. Would it be too much trouble for you to locate it and send it to me? I’d like to read it again. Thank you so much Melissa. You are such an angel. Joy and peace my friend!



      Delete
    2. http://grazieadio.blogspot.com/2011/11/my-souls-october-journey-in-three-parts.html

      Delete
    3. Hugging you Melissa. I'm glad you're feeling better dearie! :-)

      Delete
  3. Hi Debra:
    Take your pick from my blog search on forgiveness;
    http://www.cjpwisdomandlife.com/?s=forgiveness&x=21&y=17

    Or use each of these columns.
    --
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! Chris, I found “The Strength of Forgiveness.” Perfect.
      Isn’t it wiser to give your heart than your fist? Would you rather have a fist to the face or a blessing? LoL. Amen bro!

      Delete
  4. forgiveness is not an easy thing...at least not in the cheap forgiveness that is oft taught or sold...i am more interested in active forgiveness from matthew 18, which acknowledges the wrong and seeks to work it out over the forgive and forget oft preached....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you Brian. In Matthew 18:35, this phrase jumped out at me. “… unless you forgive from the heart.” How do you forgive from the heart? It’s a process that does take time and, no, it isn’t the kind of ‘forgive and forget’ that is oft preached. I’ve meditated over the years on this too: verse 34 says, “In anger his master turned him over to the tormentors.” Who are the tormentors, then? Metaphorically, I believe it’s the emotional and psychological angst and bitterness that eats away at the unforgiving soul, at those who choose to remain ‘victims’. I’m seeing it play out in the national spotlight right now, on a collective level.

      Delete
    2. I agree with this Brian. Thanks again Debra for this forum. I am learning a lot reading everyone elses responses.

      Delete
  5. So happy to see you blogging again, Debra!
    You sure gave a tall order to everyone here, and I was amazed to see the previous comments, so honest and forthright. Forgiveness isn't easy ever, but it is necessary if we are to live our lives with an inner peace and strength. When we hang on to our grudges and, yes, loathing of others because of what they've done (or, failed to do), we are only hurting ourselves in the long run. Better to let go and let God take control.
    Blessings, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you Martha.
      Well said, “Forgiveness isn't easy ever, but it is necessary if we are to live our lives with an inner peace and strength.” Amen to that.
      Blessings to you my friend! Mwah!

      Delete
  6. What really is forgiveness? The act of condoning a perceived injustice caused to one by another. The very act of saying "I forgive" is condescending, because, advertently or inadvertently in makes the one that forgive seem superior to the recipient of forgiveness. We, all of us, are capable of all things. The reason why most of us don't act on what we think (mostly what we or society makes us feel is bad or evil or unjust) is the necessary situation doesn't arise to translate the thoughts within us into action. Simply knowing we are capable of all actions and responding with no feeling of animosity towards the one we perceive to have done us some harm, is true forgiveness, because we recognise and admit that in a similar situation we could have probably done the same. There is not a shred of humility in forgiveness, just smug arrogance in saying "I forgive you" because we refuse to admit that perhaps "I too could've done the same thing in a similar situation". Let us at the very least begin by admitting that we wear masks to appear as society would like us to be. We are capable of thinking of everything that may be perceived as immoral or decadent. Even forgiveness is a mask. Imagine for instance your lover or spouse is caught with another Ian compromising position. To forgive is to shame your lover or spouse. But to go up to your lover and spouse as say I too could've done something similar, or at least I could be capable of it in some situations, is a graceful act, a true act of forgiveness without having the recipient of your forgiveness having to bear the burden of shame. This is only my view. I do not ask that you agree with me, all I ask is for you to give it a thought. Forgiveness should be an act of humility not one of smug arrogance. Who am I to forgive, am I not capable of performing "base" actions under certain circumstances. To think thus, is to my mind an act of graciousness, someone who does not look down upon another who may done him/her an injustice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I like the way you think A. Grace, what a beautiful word!

      Delete
    2. Oh Ashok, I absolutely agree with your view. It’s clear that you’ve thought this through thoroughly and offered an entirely unique perspective. This philosophical angle goes far deeper than the typical volition to forgive; it prompts empathy with the person who offended. Your point of view reminded me of this quote from scripture, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

      I can tell you right now; Dianna and I both really, really appreciate your view. She wrote me earlier today and said she’d never thought of it this way. I have to some degree, but not too often on a conscious level. Much of what we do isn’t conscious awareness.
      I knew I could count on you to offer a deeper perspective. Thank you friend!

      Delete
    3. This a very different view and I must say that it makes a lot of sense!

      Delete
  7. Forgiving myself has taken years – 41 to be exact. After spending time in meditation I realized that God expected me to forgive myself. This all started when, as a young teenager, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, which I’d never heard much about at that time, as we’d been sheltered from anything “bad.” So I didn’t think it would eventually take my mother's life.
    I gave it little thought and proceeded to be a spoiled, out of control, teen. I ran away numerous times. I wanted to be free of all parental constraints that kept me in place. My poor mother handled it as dignified as she possibly could. My father, on the other hand, was the disciplinarian during this time. I was spiteful to him. One time I ran away to my friend’s house and SHE made me go home....How could she see that I was wrong? Why couldn’t I see?
    We were shielded from her during her end days but, sadly, she died at 45 years old. You’d have thought her dying would’ve knocked some sense into me but it only made me worse.
    After getting pregnant and putting my child up for adoption, I married my best friend. Then I turned into my mother. I did everything possible to be like her. I loved her and missed her. I idolized her. In my early 50's, I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t perfect: a tough realization to me after all of those years. It took several more years for me to admit this, and that also I had to forgive myself for the way I’d behaved during that time.
    My father seemed to have forgiven me. God had forgiven me too. Now it was time for me to soul search and see if I could forgive myself. I am 99.9% forgiven, but I’ll keep that little bit extra to stay grounded.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dianna, thank you so much for sharing your poignant story here. The Dianna I know today is a brand new creature, something like a saint – well, not quite; there’s still that 1%, that extra little bit that keeps you grounded ;- ) To the church people, you are the choir girl, the angel. But to me you are my fellow earthette and dear friend. One question: that best friend you married, where is he now? Would he happen to be…? You know who I’m talking about, right?

      Delete
    2. It really sounds like a very difficult time in your life, Dianna. Losing a mother, strict father, and then giving a child up for adoption are all challenging things in and of themselves. Blend them all together, and it can be crushing. Yet you were able to come out the other end thriving from the lessons learned. As an adoptee, I know what living with the unanswered questions and the pain is like. Kudos to you. Some days it takes forgiving some aspect all over again. Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

      Delete
    3. Kim, Thank you so much for your kind words. I am still a work in process. I reconnected with my daughter 5 years ago. We are working on a relationship to this day. Her mother does not know that she has found me. I understand the desire not to hurt her. It is a very painful memory now but I know I did the best thing for her. I am blessed to have gotten to meet her. Forgiveness is never ending for me....

      Delete
  8. He is happily married with 2 preteens, bless his heart. He married his "Linda Ronstadt" look alike (he was always in love with her)...and has lived happily ever after...lol at least so far. No, his wife is a saint if there ever was one. He is still my best friend. We are better friends than husband and wife.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so cool. Still best friends after all these years. As it should be. I love happy endings! You have a different kind of princess story: the one who lived happily ever after with the handsome prince being best friend instead of heartache lover ;-)

      Delete
  9. Several years back, I broke up my engagement to a man who in my heart, I could never truly, fully love. We'd had an engagement ceremony on December 25th, and now it was one year later, December 24th, and we were driving to the airport to visit my family for Christmas. It was one day shy of the anniversary of our engagement, it was Christmas eve, and it was the day before his birthday (yes his birthday is Dec. 25th). But as we approached the airport, I realized I couldn't survive our relationship any longer. I saw myself at a crossroads and I had to make a decision, and so I ended it just before we arrived at the terminal.

    It was a horrible, dramatic ending to a very tumultuous relationship. He told me he would never forgive me.

    For about two years following that event, I went through a dark time in my life. I felt distraught that we would never be friends, distraught that he couldn't forgive me, and incredible guilt for all that I put him through. Surely his family hated me too. I tried everything to make things right with him, but he refused to ever speak with me again.
    It was a horrible realization that the forgiveness I needed wouldn't come from him.

    But then a friend said to me "you did everything you could to try and make it work, and it didn't. It's not your fault. Can forgive yourself for what happened and let it go?" And I knew she was right. Yes, the ending was horrible and dramatic, but there was nothing I could do to change it. It was the first time I ever turned forgiveness toward myself and I realized I could do that anytime I needed it. I could give compassion and forgiveness to myself and that was incredibly healing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Kristen, this must have been excruciating. But it sounds like you listened to your heart and made the right decision after all. For what if you’d married someone you could never truly love? Wouldn’t that have been far worse than what you’d have endured if you’d ‘taken the plunge?’ Imagine the horror! If the relationship was tumultuous BEFORE marriage, I can only surmise what it would have been like after the fact.

      I’m so sorry you went through such a dark period afterward, and that you struggled with remorse and pain for so long because he chose not to forgive. His unforgiving nature reveals how devastated you’d have been if you’d remained in the relationship. Hey, but you learned compassion for yourself, and in the end that’s what matters most.
      Thank you for sharing your story. Not everyone has learned this lesson, you know. I’ve missed you and I’ll catch up with you soon. Hugs!


      Delete
  10. I think self-forgiveness is hardest for me . . . things I did that I wish I hadn't, things I can't hold myself responsible for even though I do. With your deadline being tomorrow, I don't know that I can come up with something new -- but, this short story, "My Father's Voice", which I posted on Father's Day, might very well speak to the theme of forgiveness and its outcomes. http://www.colorado.edu/journals/standards/V8N1/batterman.html. And you might take a look at Ursula Le Guin's book, 'Four Ways to Forgiveness.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deborah, I know few who can weave a story like you. This is the kind of writing you share in class with aspiring writers. I love the voice of this 14-year-old. We read it in class today. Is this total fiction? I can’t imagine that it is because it seems so REAL! Regardless, this is one powerful story. This makes me want to be a better writer. It makes us all want to be better writers.

      Here is my student’s response:
      The main focus of the piece was of a girl who could not forgive her father for daring to make noise, to attract attention. She longed to lie, to make him someone worthy of all the attention people paid him, to say he was a prince, a movie star. She disapproved of this, being a person who decidedly did not enjoy attention.
      The forgiveness part comes in as her father is losing his voice, and she is metaphorically finding hers, by gaining the skill of playing piano, with the piece culminating in her father’s voice being completely ruined, so that he can no longer attract the same kind of attention, and her finally being able to play piano publicly, with all eyes on her. The song she plays is a sort of a apology to her father; by playing raindrops, she is both apologizing for hating his attraction of attention, and asking his forgiveness.

      Delete
    2. I recently wrote (in response to another writer's thoughts on my stories) that the transactional theory of literature (Louise Rosenblatt) suggests that a story isn't really finished until it's read. The point being that we a reader brings to a story is as important as what the writer intended. In answer to the question re: how much is real here -- this story began in a workshop I conducted re: autobiography in fiction. I offered up three different beginnings to the story as a way of showing how each might bring a different trajectory. I will track down and send you the link and details re: how it evolved.

      Delete
    3. Thank you so much, Deborah. Autobiography in fiction… yes, I need that link from you, as I often struggle with which direction to take my own stories.

      Delete
  11. My response was too long for this format, so I sent it via email; however, this is a response from someone else I thought should be posted here.

    Sherrie Cross Dollar I seriously couldn't stand a superior at work. She was rarely directly over me, but I thought she was power happy. Thru a sermon, God really convicted me. I went to her and asked her forgiveness. She just laughed it off, but it was a huge relief to me
    Tuesday at 6:09pm via mobile

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kim, first, thanks for posting Sherrie’s comment.

      Second, thank you for the story you emailed. Now you’ve just got to write that book. Why do you think all that stuff happened to you? If you can’t tell your own story, disguise yourself as Suki (sp?) and git-r-dun! Love you and I’ll see you later. xox

      Delete
  12. Hi Deb,
    Here is a glimpse of my journey with forgiveness. It is a journey.
    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.leahgriffith.com%2F&h=ZAQEnDW1E

    Love!
    Leah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leah, I treasure my copy of Cosette’s Tribe. It deserves not only the Laine Cunningham New Novel Award, but every award out there. I’d have been in Cosette’s tribe. She’d have chosen me. And we’d have ventured out into the world together to find meaning. I’d have hung out with the hippies, listened to her dark secrets, consoled her in her loses, and just been her BFF.

      The balance of pathos and humor, the child’s voice, the characters (some you just want to kill, and some you just want to hug), all these elements combined make this a story well worth the read. And everyone who has yet to read your story should see the trailer – then they can’t resist. But they’ll have to copy and paste first ;-) It’s a Blogger thing.

      Love this presentation.

      http://www.leahgriffith.com/

      Delete
    2. Love and hugs Leah! I agree with everthing Debra has said. I loved your book as well. When we share our pain either in fiction or nonfiction we heal ourselves and the world!

      Delete
  13. Debra, what a sweet thought. You and Cosette figuring it all out. I know you would have been a friend who stayed close by and listened well. Thank you for your sweet words. It is my hope that Cosette's Tribe grows and grows and that her journey to forgiveness is shared with humanity.

    I'm working on a second novel. It is a continuation of Cosette's journey. I'm in the thick of it with her right now and this thread on forgiveness has really got me thinking and brought some things to the surface. You've inspired me Deb;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m glad you brought this up Leah. I was wondering if a sequel was forthcoming. We just need to know what has happened to Cosette, how she turned out after all she’s been through…
      So, when we get together (or before) let’s talk about it.

      Delete
  14. Hello Debra! So good to see you blogging again! :-)

    Your post actually inspired me to do a series of posts about the things I learned and am still learning about forgiveness. And I shall add a link to this post in every post I publish in my blog. But since I haven't posted the first one yet, I'll just share to you a little bit of the things I learned about forgiveness...

    One thing I know about forgiving is that it is not easy. I would always ask God, "How do You do it?" And then, "How do I do it?!" But then holding on to anger is just as hard.

    I came across this quote just recently, "We all need mercy..." and somehow, it makes it easier for me to forgive. Or at least I no longer stay mad at another person that long, because I would realize that we are all sinners anyway. And the other person doing me wrong does not make him/her a worse sinner than me...

    I am also learning how to be more forgiving towards myself. ..

    Thank you for the inspiration, Debra. It is also wonderful to be reading all the other comments because I am learning from them as well. God bless <3 :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good insights Irene. I totally love the idea of simply asking him, “How do you do it?” Then asking, “How do I do it?” Because, as you’d heard, “You have not because you ask not.” Sometimes it’s just that simple, isn’t it? Indeed “we all need mercy.” I know you know the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” Sometimes I pray this for myself, and sometimes for others in need. It covers everything! Thank you so very much, my friend, for sharing these insights. You have helped me tremendously. More than you know. Also, I look forward to reading your forthcoming posts. Please do come back and share again. Love you sister! xox

      Delete
    2. Hi Debra, I'm back! :-)

      And I am sharing with you the first of my series of reflections on forgiveness:

      http://inadifferentplaceblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/im-sorry-please-forgive-me-1-the-day-i-learned-about-forgiveness/

      <3

      Delete
    3. Amen, it may take a lifetime to learn. Like everything else one masters, it takes practice. And you know what they say about practice – practice makes perfect ;-) And have I EVER had some practice.
      I read your lovely reflections, left you a comment, and look forward to the others.
      ♥ ♥ ♥

      Delete
    4. Hi my dear Debra, I'm back again to let you know that I posted my 2nd installment on forgiveness. And if you have the time, here it is...

      http://inadifferentplaceblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/im-sorry-please-forgive-me-2-letting-god-love-us/

      Take care! <3 :-)

      ~Irene

      Delete
    5. Beautiful prayer, Irene! Thanks for the heads up. Keep me posted on future installments!

      Delete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This worked last time someone asked ...

    "They're marked as A) God's Country, B) Chapter Two, C) Doe, D) Elise, etc. You'll have to kind of go from two or three pages back from this page to two or three pages forward, here and there. Remember that on a site like this -- (and please disregard the posts my posts are surrounded by) -- the most recent posts will be on lesser page numbers, the oldest on larger page numbers. The oldest one is entitled A) God's Country; the newest one Rustic, but I think it's J) Rustic.

    http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=8&page=45

    (This last number, "45" is the page number; it can be changed to a different number and the link still works.)

    It was nice hearing from you Mrs Debra. I like your page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love you Ben! You are one talented writer. It’s a call, you know. But I know you know this already. I’m so glad to hear that you finished the projects, God’s Country, Rustic, and all that you’ve needed to write. I appreciate you posting the link here, because now I can scoot over anytime and read your story - and anyone else who'd like to do so. How is your new editor working out for you btw? hugs!

      Delete
    2. Ben, I don't know which one is yours! Tried the link and saw lots of contributors, but where is yours?

      Delete
  17. Hi Debra,

    The Afghan Women's Writing Project, where I serve as a writing mentor, has been running a series of essays, stories and poetry on the subject of forgiveness. Perhaps you'd be interested in reading some. Below is the link. Courageous women indeed!
    http://awwproject.org/2013/04/campaign-for-love-and-forgiveness/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! This sounds awesome. Thanks for the link, Pam. This must be rewarding work for you. I'd love to hear more about it.

      Delete
    2. Ok, I just hopped over to your place and saw the link, and will be returning... Again, thank you. How exciting!

      Delete
  18. Forgiveness is a hard thing to do. Here's a poem I wrote on it. http://ilasoulpoems.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/the-lesson.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suzy, this is perfect. Love the personification of forgiveness in the poem: “a demanding friend.” I see that you’re a gifted and versatile artist: poetry, prose, and photography. Thank you for leaving your link and letting me know where to find you! Let’s keep in touch. Here’s my FB link:
      https://www.facebook.com/debra.elramey

      Delete
  19. ~~Dear, Debra,

    my sister was murdered by her husband 3 years ago--it has been a difficult, dark, lonely, & often unbearable journey trying to find my way back into some kind of light, normalcy, forgiveness, God...

    But I have forgiven her murderer. Finally.

    This is a excerpt from my book in progress:

    """"Are you in Hell? Are you burning up? Oh, God, I hope not. Because even after all
    of this unbearable, inexplicable pain, these shadows…I still feel sorry for you, sad for
    you, still imagine there is hope for you. But NOT with Kay. No. You will never be with Kay. Perhaps that's your true hell.""""

    Thank you for this platform for people to tell their stories. We can learn from one another.

    Xxx

    Kim
    My Inner Chick




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kim, yes, we do learn from each other. We can surely learn from your story. Oh, I can’t imagine losing a sister to murder. Can’t grasp how you coped with such a tragic loss. This story is a powerful one you HAD to write, and I’m grateful you found the strength to do so, to immortalize her, to keep her memory alive. Your story and hers pieced together like Brooke McKinley’s mother’s quilt:

      “It's like this old patchwork quilt my momma used to have...Each piece on that quilt meant something. And some of those pieces were the damn ugliest things you've ever seen...But some of the pieces were so beautiful they almost hurt my eyes to look at when I was a kid...That's the best you can hope for... That your life turns out like that patchwork quilt. That you can add some bright, sparkling pieces to the dirty, stained ones you have so far. That in the end, the bright patches might take up more space on your quilt than the dark ones.”

      I pray that the bright patches you add to the story will outshine the dark ones.

      Love,
      D

      Delete
    2. ---And some of those pieces were the damn ugliest things you've ever seen--

      great sentence. DAMN UGLY. That about covers it.

      Delete
    3. But, hey, without the damn ugly pieces, there’d be no masterpiece. And I know you’ve got one girl. I just know it, and I’ll be the first one in line to buy my copy.

      Delete
  20. Dear Debra,

    Here's the thing...I don't really believe in forgiveness because I don't believe there's anything to forgive. Everyone always does the best they can in any given moment or situation. When someone hurts me it's because they disagreed with me about how they should have behaved. But, they have a right to behave the way they will and I have a right to not hang around with them anymore. That's it. Nothing to forgive.

    So WONDERFUL to read you again! More! More!!! XOXOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, viewing forgiveness from this lens: “everybody does the best they can,” really has helped me in the past. Did you ever see that movie, “My Life?” Anyway, Bob Jones (Michael Keaton) is dying with cancer. A Chinese healer encourages him to let go of all the anger and fear he has kept trapped inside himself. So he goes back to his father… and I can’t even write this without crying. You don’t hear that he’s forgiven his father for not being perfect, because he has the revelation that his father just did the best he could.
      I love your take, Linda. You’ve opened up a whole new avenue here - as I knew you would!


      Delete
  21. I have a lot of heavy things to choose from, but I'll leave those for another time. Today I'd like to share how I made a connection with a fellow blogger whose writing I truly respected. We often commented on each others blogs and a rapport started to form. He often supported my writing efforts and even vouched for me to a contact who was looking for someone to do so some work for them. At that time I really needed the project too as I was out of a job. I also offered him up as a go-to person for my friends who needed help with the work he is good at.

    Earlier this year he agreed to revamp my blog and initially I had to stall the project because I didn't have the money to pay. I let him know right away and told him I would contact him as soon as I was ready. I did feel bad because I don't like stalling projects, but it couldn't be helped as I had just lost a paying account and found out I had to move!

    My best way of dealing with it was to communicate and make contact right away. He didn't respond to the email, but at least I knew I had done my part. When I was ready to pick things up, I sent him the money and contacted him and we got to it. I liked the initial designs and we were at the point where he had a some more touches and it would have been completed, but then he stopped communicating with me. I have emailed, called and texted him for the better part of two months and I only received one response which was an apology text and word that he would call me the next day. He never did. I have since contacted him well over ten times with no reponse. I am also connected to him on Facebook and I see his daily posts which I used to like and look forward to, but now when I see them I feel slapped in the face each time as I realize that he had time to post, but took no care to return any of my messages regardng my blog.

    My last contact was a few days ago and I asked for a refund since the work wasn't completed. No response. Also, I must mention that in none of my messages did I use foul language or snippy or snide tones. I considered him a friend and I am actually more shocked than anything that he would not honor his agreement. I am left feeling angry and confused, but I have no place to put it so I think I will have to eat the money I spent, disconnect from him on Facebook and wish him well.

    As I look for someone else to do my blog there are tinges of annoyance as I feel like I shouldn't have to go through the process again and spend the money again, but I know I have to forgive and move on. Honestly, I'm only half-way there.

    Thanks for this outlet dear Debra!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tameka, how disturbing! Someone you trusted to do a job for you, reneging on his word that he’d finish the work you hired him to do. It’s two-fold pain, in that he was your friend. But also that you didn’t get what you paid for. What is the deal with this guy? I guess it does feel like a slap in the face! He needs his arse kicked!

      I hope you never have to go through this again. I pray that whoever you hire to work for you in the future will have enough integrity to complete the job. I’m so sorry you had to endure such heartache. Bless you. Lord, I pray you’ll convict this dude’s heart!

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much Debra! I am healing daily over this. I will win in the end. :-)

      Delete
  22. Thank you for sharing this with me. I have a lot to say about forgiveness and wrong doings. Which is why you reached out to me. LOL. It's 2:12 am so I won't be writing it out here in comment form and I don't think my lack of sleep will be for blogging genius. Therefore I'll need a bit to get back to you. I have been in so many situations where I must forgive that it's ridiculous. I am currently in a situation where I must choose forgiveness or anger so great that hatred will be a close friend, It involves my slumlord and my family having to be out by September 1st. It's a tale of woe, misery, and disappointment. It can only be told in true Jen fashion though. I'll contact you soon and return here to read comments and participate on a deeper level... something I've missed being on hiatus so long. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenn, sounds like you DO have a forthcoming story. I look forward to hearing more. Yes, we’ve all been in situations where we’ve had opportunities to forgive; it’s such a universal theme.But I know yours will be boss! Love you! xox

      Delete
  23. Dear Debra,
    Thanks for the invitation. I was offline and on vacation so I apologize for my late reply to your comment at my blog.

    Wow, forgiveness...what a huge topic. Lewis Smede's second book, The Art of Forgiveness, helped me understand that true forgiveness requires one be truthful about what happened, the pain, what really happened, so one knows truly what one is forgiving. He talks about how so few truly forgive because it is so hard to be that painfully honest. It has been an ongoing process. I forgive, then something else happens or I understand in a new way what happened...especially as I get older, and my perspective changes on past events, plus, I grow to understand my own debt of sin, and how much Christ has forgiven me.

    Thanks, Debra, for asking...blessings :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew it Dolly, knew you’d come up with a different take. This one has yet to be mentioned here: the fact of honesty. Denial is so common that most bury past wounds. Pretend they never happened. Thus, forgiveness from the heart is impossible. Snede’s book, The Art of Forgiveness, I haven’t yet read. Would you recommend it? Maybe I should check it out. ~ Peace and blessings
      BTW, I saw Eva Piper on TV one night, right after reading your review of her book.

      Delete
  24. I think I missed the deadline? I apologize. I was out of town and then I was trying to catch up this past week. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa Marie, it’s not too late for you sweetheart! There’s always time for you. <3

      Delete
  25. Excellent quotes. I love!

    I pray my sister's murderer is NOT burning in hell.

    Is that forgiving?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is the book coming along? I want to hear more about it. If you're like me, you're taking your sweet time. We really need to have us a long chat, you and me.

      Delete
    2. I'm sorry Kim, all I could think about was the book you're writing. Yes, I'd say it's forgiving to pray he's not burning in hell. Certainly!

      Delete
  26. Before I get to forgiveness, I'd like to add that in my first time reading this blog and about the author, I especially like what Debra says about how an education, among many things, should teach us to live and die. For some reason, that stands out for me and I am grateful to read it. I am still learning.
    About forgiveness - we do, as humans waste a lot of precious time not forgiving. This reminds of the hit TV show, "The Newsroom," where in the last episode that I watched, he found out that his dad was in hospital and numerous times, put off calling him. Apparently, they had been at odds with each other. When the son finally called - his sister answered the phone and said that their father had died. Fictional, but occurring in life, needless to say. This should be one of our clues to forgive, but I doubt that we all can do this. I know at times, I am guilty of not forgiving. What a burden to carry through life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeralyn, thank you for this meaningful comment. I so love those words by John Gatto Taylor, “Whatever an education is… it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.” This has been a life changer for us. Indeed, if we don’t ‘get’ this, what good is anything we may have learned? I still ponder it every day, take it to heart, and try to live it. It has been my roadmap.

      I’ve never seen the Newsroom, but I’m sure that last episode where the guy procrastinates calling his father, then finds out it’s too late would have been a stirring scene. Thanks for sharing! Are you on FB? Here’s my link. https://www.facebook.com/debra.elramey

      Delete
  27. A very Happy New Year to you Debra, hope you are safe and well!

    Hugs
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  28. And to you, love! 2014 blessings, Jane!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...