Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Friday, May 29, 2009


I have struggled to let go of a painful issue for 5 months now.  Just when I think I have, back it comes, rearing its ugly head to dance around singing "naya naya naya" like a taunting school boy bully.  The other night, I read a brief excerpt about a book called Huna: Ancient Hawaiian Secrets for Modern Living.  In a section on practicing forgiveness, King writes: "When you hold a grudge, the only way your body knows how to react is to tense up.  But forgiveness physically releases it, freeing your energy for more productive things."  

We might know that cognitively, but how to forgive someone--especially when it is one of those wounds that just seems to defy healing and forgiveness?  "You don't have to forgive what they did, just forgive the fact they felt they had to do it, and that they must have been feeling really jealous, sad, afraid or insecure.  Feelings are often easier to understand than actions."

I have known for years (due to my professional training) that the emotion under anger is usually fear.  Somehow, looking at the event from 5 months ago as something that emerged out of fear and insecurity--and I can clearly see that now--allowed me the freedom to move past it.  It was as if I could stop thinking about my wound that was undeserved and recognize the deep fear and insecurity in the perpetrators that unleashed that wound.  

I cannot forgive what was done--at least, not yet.  I can forgive the fact that they felt they had to do it.  One of my supervisors used to say, "The burden is on the one with the awareness."  Once you have that insight, it becomes a responsibility.  To ignore the insight or awareness and continue to nurture the old unenlightened self is as it indicates in the Christian Greek Scriptures, "like the dog returning to its own vomit."  Now there is an in-your-face way of putting it if I ever heard it.

Interestingly, ever since I read that phrase about forgiving the feelings rather than the action, it has been a burden lifted from my soul.

Shortly thereafter, a friend sent an email she had received from her church, saying she thought I would get a "cosmic kick" out of it as it related to our earlier conversation.  One line caught my attention: "However many cues we have missed, however many wrong turnings we have taken, however unnecessarily we may have complicated our journey, the road still beckons and the Lord still "waits to be gracious" to us (Isaiah 30:18)..."our own true independence no longer challenges God's sovereignty but is precisely a most wonderful expression of it, as we receive our freedom day by day, minute by minute, from the creative love of God" (Simon Tugwell).

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