Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22nd

When I see people still landing on my blog, even when I have not blogged, I feel this interesting mix of guilt and gratitude.

I think, what can I tell them, what interesting thing from my typically boring and routine life can I offer up to them?

I have tried blogging about the things I have been pondering, and it does not come out right.

As a writer, this has been a frustrating summer. I can't articulate the things I've been thinking deeply about, and living in.

Here, let me try. I'll give it a go.


Ha! See. I can't. I can't write about it. Okay, wait, I'll try again.

My concept of forgiveness has expanded outward.

My understanding of the parable of the good Samaritan has expanded outward from simply a commentary on society, to include an illustration of one's inner life.

That is, I have been the priest walking past my own wounded, I have been the wounded, and I have been the good Samaritan to myself, before I was able to do so to anyone else in any authentic manner.

And this guy who gets beaten up- who is he? We know nothing about him or her. But I'll bet that you, like me, assumed at one time that he is the perfect victim- a nice guy, a good girl, simply going about their business, whistling to themselves as they walked along on a summer day.

What if she was a prostitute? What if he was a tax collector?

Wouldn't the religious feel then, perfectly justified in walking past such a person?

It makes me think about Jesus declaring that among us, it is He that is the hungry one, the diseased one, in prison, naked, thirsty and a stranger.

There are many kinds of prisons, there are many kinds of sicknesses. I have lived in several.

Now, when I catch myself being the priest, I notice, and I grieve. I grieve my complicity in this tendency we have to pass by, to fail to see that the stranger is God lying there, naked and bruised, in the road.

Grieving is different from self condemnation, which was what I used to do. It's not so violent, and it opens my heart up. It causes me to feel surrounded by the love of God. I am the one on the road, and He has picked me up in His arms. It's who He is.

I recognize that I am forgiven. It's humbling- because I recognize then that He has forgiven everyone. Freely I have been forgiven; freely I forgive.

This is what I began to understand this summer, when I stopped trying to stifle my emotions, when I allowed myself to feel.

I feel so comfortably small now, so human. I do not need to be anyone else, to pretend to be other than what I am.

I'm still not managing to write about this very well. Fortunately, other people have written it out beautifully. Case in point:

"What does letting go on the practical level tell us? Letting go is different than denying or repressing. To let go of something is to admit it. You have to own it. Letting go is different than turning it against yourself, different than projecting it onto others. Letting go means that the denied, repressed, rejected parts of yourself, which are nonetheless true, are seen for what they are; but you refuse to turn them against yourself or against others. This is not denial or pretend, but actual transformation.

"The religious word for this letting go is forgiveness. You see the imperfect moment for what it is, and you hand it over to God. You refuse to let any negative storyline or self-serving agenda define your life. This is a very, very different way of living; it implies that you see your mistakes, your dark side, but you do not identify with either your superiority or your inferiority.

"Forgiveness is of one piece. Those who can give it can also receive it. Those who have received it can pass forgiveness on. You are a conduit, and your only job is not to stop the flow. What comes around will also go around. The art of letting go is really the secret to happiness and freedom."

-Richard Rohr, Adapted from The Art of Letting Go