The Easter message is that we can be forgiven. It is that we can change. We can take our lives, and all the mistakes, and all our troubles, and choose a different path. We can walk a path that is blessed with the wisdom of the lessons learned, and a better knowing of who we are.
This is how we heal the world. Forgiveness is not just for us, it is not just a gift given by a man who died on the cross . . . it is a gift we must extend to others. Our forgiveness. We must learn to say, “I forgive you” and to make a space in our lives for people to choose a different path. We need to support their struggles to learn and grow. We have to let go of our idea of who they were, and encourage their journey.
All around us are people who have lost their way, who would give anything to have a second chance, to start over with a different ending. People suffer their losses of loved ones, of jobs, of self and they suffer alone, often further burdened by the judgments of the people who surround them. We label people with their mistakes. There goes the “drug addict,” the “drunk,” the “thief,” the “loser.” She had a baby before she was married. His wife left him. He got fired. Years pass, and still, we hold onto those labels, imprisoning people in their mistakes.
Had their mistakes not been made public, they would be safe and secure with everyone else, judging those whose sins are pinned to them in bright scarlet for all to see. Continue reading →
Seeds of hate and anger, of contention and destruction, of stress and worry, are planted in our lives every day by those people we associate with, those we have contact with, and the situations we experience.
Most of those seeds simply blow by and bounce off of our hearts as we move purposefully forward.
But when the seed comes from someone that has any place within our hearts and lives, it always seems to manage to go deeper. Some seeds hit upon sensitive places of distant pain or worries and seem to target our fears. It is fertile ground, and they begin to take root.
Now and then, we run our thoughts over the slight irritation those seeds can cause, like a finger over a small bite on our skin, until it begins to itch. We scratch at it and we can make it bleed.
Most of us hold a cool cloth to the spot, some of us make it even worse by picking at it, causing it to fester, perhaps even become infected. Time passes and we seem powerless to leave it alone. It pulls our attention, it interrupts our other activities. This seed that was not born of our own thoughts, but hurled at us by another is at best a weed, at worst a poisonous growth that will choke out all else and completely darken our lives. We wait giving it the power to control us. We surrender to its demands. Continue reading →
I wish that, as a child, I knew the things that I know now. I think a lot about kids that I knew and the circumstances of their lives.
There are so many things you miss, or ignore, when you are kid and the whole world revolves around you and what games there are to be played at recess.
I think about the girls who were even more marginalized than I was. Do they know it was not them? Do they know that we were a small insular farming community in so many ways. Anything new or different, or anyone who could not trace their roots back to the beginning of the community, was never going to be allowed any space. Do they know that I was marginalized too? It may have looked like I was part of things, my family name bought me tolerance. I was too good to not have on the school teams, but I frequently sat alone going to the games and any opportunity to not include me was never overlooked. Why did we all cry alone in our bedrooms hidden from one another? Have they carried those scars with them though their lives, believing the lie that they are not good enough? Has anyone ever apologized to them? Are they added to the list of “friends” everyone collects to prove they were awesome, or, are they still being marginalized? Continue reading →
As a human being you are guaranteed to make mistakes. I told my teens that it was their job to make mistakes because no-one gets it right the first time, every time. What mattered, was not the mistakes, so much as the lessons learned. When they were babies they learned to walk and they fell…often. They also walked funny, they only walked a few steps, they clung to chairs and walls … and eventually they used all that information from all their efforts, including the falls … to learn to walk. Continue reading →
Life is hard. You had some bumps along the road. Unfortunately, part of the pain that can come from our childhood is because we were often powerless to do anything about the things that happened. Life was what our parents made, or didn’t make, of it. We were just along for the ride. Children have to rely on the goodness of others, even strangers sometimes, to protect them. More often than not, those people either lacked goodness or simply did not see what was going on. Continue reading →
When I say I am grateful for the people in my life, whose actions, although painful, have taught me much, I am not condoning their cruelty. That would be as ridiculous as appreciating cancer for taking a life, or failed brakes for causing a car accident.
Life gives us experiences. Some of those experiences are incredibly painful and they force us to dig deep to discover strengths and abilities we probably never knew we had. Sometimes those experiences force us down a completely different path that eventually opens us up to wonderful people and other experiences. My being grateful, is for the experience itself. I am grateful that I dug deep and found strength and that I took what was meant to destroy me and used it to move me forward without surrendering my heart or my integrity. I am grateful for the healing and what it taught me. Continue reading →
Growing up we were that the good guys always win, and with that came an expectation that life would be fair. In fact, perhaps it made it easier to opt out of paying attention because clearly, this was just how it was. Good guys and bad guys were easily identifiable. Monsters were in scary places and mainly fairy tales that most of us left far behind us as we headed into adulthood full of idealism and dreams.
But monsters do exist outside of fairy tales and they are not always identifiable and sometimes they even show up in our lives as the fairy princess or the guy in the white hat. And, assuming that someone else was keeping life fair was the worst mistake we ever made. Continue reading →
I never had a “mother.” I have never called anyone that name. Ever.
This past week we had to face the real possibility of losing our mother in law and I watched in sadness as a good friend lost her mother. Why does it take death for us to really reflect on what a relationship meant to us and what we said and did … and didn’t?
How much empty space exists in the world right now, waiting to be filled with all the things we should have done but didn’t? Continue reading →