in the last two years, i’ve often caught myself thinking i’ve finally forgiven someone, that i’ve reached the proverbial “i’m over it” point. it feels good for a few moments, ya know? it seems like my heart is back to normal, and that i won’t ever again revert back to a feeling of dread each time i think about how i was wronged. well, i’ve never remained that way. some memory will eventually lead me back to that day i can’t shake, and a spark of anger emerges once more. why do i continue to hand over power like this? why am i spending more energy on that moment than the one who did the hurtin’?
so my question to y’all is: how do you know when you’re “over it,” that you’ve finally and fully forgiven someone? have you experienced this release, or are you like me – unsure of how to accomplish it and searching for the seemingly simple answer?
“forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.” // mark twain
being the middle-aged woman at heart that i am, i caught this profound tidbit on dr. phil a week or two ago. i’ve been meaning to write it down or preserve it somehow, ’cause i just don’t think that being reminded of how quickly bitter roots can spring up will ever go out of style. he told a teary-eyed woman that we often believe we can keep our anger toward someone simply contained and directed to them only. but it’s a pretty lie; that bitterness will eventually affect our relationships with everyone else we do love and cast such a dark shadow on our hearts. my cynicism and bitterness toward him or love or just about anything else will always seep into the very cracks i try to seal. is it worth it? i think not.
how closely our own stories resemble that of israel’s. i pray this chapter from the prophet hosea will challenge and permeate you tonight.
“when israel was a child, I loved him, and I called My son out of egypt.
but the more I called to him, the farther he moved from Me,
offering sacrifices to the images of baal and burning incense to idols.
I myself taught israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand.
but he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him.
I led israel along with my ropes of kindness and love.
I lifted the yoke from his neck,
and I myself stooped to feed him.
but since My people refuse to return to me, they will return to egypt
and will be forced to serve assyria.
war will swirl through their cities;
their enemies will crash through their gates. they will destroy them,
trapping them in their own evil plans.
for My people are determined to desert me.
they call Me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor Me.
oh, how can I give you up, israel?
how can I let you go?
how can I destroy you like admah or demolish you like zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me, and My compassion overflows.
no, I will not unleash my fierce anger.
I will not completely destroy israel,
for I am a God and not a mere mortal.
I am the Holy One among you, and I will not come to destroy.
for someday the people will follow Me. I, the LORD, will roar like a lion.
and when I roar, My people will return trembling from the west.
like a flock of birds, thy will come from egypt. trembling like doves, they will return from assyria.
and I will bring them home again,” says the Lord.
it is hard to believe how quickly a year can pass, how four seasons can complete their cycle in what seems like a flash. it has been a year since brady passed away, a precious little boy who words cannot do justice. my first love’s baby cousin touched a multitude more than i can ever hope to touch, and on february 3rd – his sixth birthday – he was released from the pain and obstacles which had plagued him during his short time here. i attended his memorial service on my birthday last year, which i have often described as the most horrific and most precious day of my life. i dearly wish i could detail it much further than that, but his legacy really speaks the loudest. hundreds of friends, family members, nurses and doctors, even news anchors, were present to celebrate brady. the following night i posted this note, pleading for prayer for this wonderful family i came to love. tonight my plea is the same.
oh great God, be small enough to hear us now.
my heart has never ached so uncontrollably for another’s anguish, and i’m astonished at how unaware i once was of what it means to mourn with those who mourn.
it isn’t right to hear a mother and father wail for their child.
it isn’t right for this beautiful, brave woman to acknowledge my birthday on the very day she’s burying her youngest son.
yesterday was amazing, precious, and devestating.
i witnessed how one quiet but mighty soul touched thousands of individuals – something few of us will ever accomplish, but a feat brady conquered within six years.
i rejoiced for a boy who i only had the chance to be in the presence of for a handful of occasions, for a man among children who required only one brief encounter to make you fall in love with him.
i smiled at the thought of all the foods he is finally getting to taste, all of the songs and laughter he is finally getting to hear, all of the races he is finally getting to win.
and i continue to weep for the matchless family that had to give him up to Heaven.
they are all i see when i close my eyes at night. this heavy, horrible feeling consumes my chest when i even begin to think about it. i always thought there came a time when one was all cried out.
i now know that is only an awful myth.
i beg, i plead with you to pray for this group of people i love. if i could only ask you one thing for the rest of time, this would be it. pray for peace to be imparted tonight. pray for joy to show its face soon. pray for comfort to surround ripped and torn hearts. but i think this beautiful boy would also beg you to celebrate, celebrate all of the tiny things we so constantly fail to give a second glance. to celebrate the balloons and flowers he cherished in his tender hands, celebrate life and love itself.
the Father labored and toiled for six days to bless and cultivate everything that is around us, and rested when He saw His work was good.
brady labored and toiled for six years to the very day, blessing and cultivating everything that is around us. it was good. and he is finally resting.
someday all that’s crazy, all that’s unexplained will be beautiful, beautiful. someday all that’s hazy through a clouded glass will be clear at last. and sometimes we’re just waiting for someday. we’re just waiting.
now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. all that i know now is partial and incomplete, but then i will know everything completely… // 1 corinthians 13:12
this will probably be the most difficult entry i’ve written thus far.
i cried, and sobbed, and sniffled my way through this ten minute segment of oprah last night. it was late, i had just gotten out of the shower, and was checking channel 5 one last time for school closing updates – and certainly wasn’t expecting to watch an intervention. i wish i could find the actual video for you to watch. i wish you could see the raw emotion in these teenagers’ words and cries. because i see so much of myself in their stories. from first grade through this morning, pieces of my struggle are echoed in theirs.
as a part of the obesity intervention being conducted with a group of teenagers and their parents, the kids were asked to come to the middle of the circle and complete this statement: “i’m angry that…” you cannot imagine what poured out of them from there. i wept for their sorrow, i wept for how liberated they must have felt as they let these things escape their lips for the first time. i wept for their parents who were stunned and heartbroken. “i’m angry that i had to ask someone to prom.” “i’m angry that my mom is my best friend, my only best friend.” “i’m angry that my dad left on my birthday.” “i’m angry that when i see pictures of myself i just want to rip them up.” “i’m angry that i’d rather be dead than overweight.”
i crawled in bed after having seen enough, and couldn’t doze off until i rolled through my own mini mental list. please don’t misunderstand me: i know as one who is free in Christ that anger should not rule my heart, and i assure you it no longer does. but i’m still scarred by instances in the past, and i absolutely feel that a stage of anger is necessary to heal and move forward. in order to know me authentically, you must understand where i have been. if you’re ready for that, then the following list may give you a glimpse. and who knows, it may even free you up to vocalize your own. :] ’cause believe me, it feels good.
i’m angry that there are no pictures of me smiling during my middle school years. i’m angry that there are barely any pictures of me from then at all. i’m angry that my mom had to cut out the tags of my t-shirts to stop the girls at school from reaching in to proclaim my size to everyone. i’m angry that i had to ask someone to prom too. i’m angry that when my co-workers begin talking about looks and what it means to be attractive, that i shrink in my chair and shut my mouth for fear they’re all thinking the same thing: taylor wouldn’t know anything about that. i’m angry that i fear my husband will take one look at me on our wedding night and change his mind. i’m angry that i constantly fear i’ll never even get married at all. i’m angry that i gave in because i thought that was the best it would ever be for me. i’m angry that i loathe shopping for clothes because nothing ever looks good in the dressing room mirror. i’m angry that i lost thirty-five pounds my senior year of high school but still haven’t met my goal weight. i’m angry that i have the tools and knowledge to change that, and yet i don’t. i’m angry that i allowed comments and torments from kids at school to influence my opinion of myself. i’m angry that i never feel full. i’m angry that i gave up basketball because of the things people said to me during practice. i’m angry that my gorgeous senior photos were taken before my weight loss – making them not so gorgeous to me sometimes. i’m angry that i assumed being thin meant being happy. i’m angry that i feel out of place in most of my classes. i’m angry that i rarely left my house on friday nights. i’m angry that the people who were so mean to me in school would pretend to be my friends when they wanted something. i’m angry that i let them. i’m angry that i make jokes about my weight for fear i might not beat someone else to it. i’m angry that i rely on others for affirmation. i’m angry that i wasn’t a star athlete like the rest of my family. i’m angry that the only think i’m good at is making great grades. i’m angry that even today, kids i serve at church tell me i’m fat. i’m angry that i’ve wasted so much time thinking about my weight.