As we experience life we realize there are no absolutes. Though we may strive to be perfect, we are imperfect; we make mistakes; we hurt others intentionally and unintentionally, and we pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
At the Center’s lecture last Tuesday, Dick LaFever testified to the power of forgiveness and the benefits it has to our mind, body and spirit. But in many ways forgiveness is misunderstood. It is not about minimizing the hurts and wrongs which are real and painful. It is not about forgetting, but we need not let the offense dominate our lives. It is not about condoning or excusing the act, although there may come a time when reasons are better understood. It is not the same as reconciliation for the offender does need to be a part of our future. And forgiveness is not a sign of either weakness or saintliness, but an expression of human strength.
We carry with us conscious and unconscious hurts that bonds us to the past; unable to enjoy and explore the future with passion and love. And although it is extremely difficult and may take time, forgiveness can set us free. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said “without forgiveness there is no future”.
As we get closer to our own sunset and realize the importance of the years remaining, Joan Chittister in her book “The Gift of Years” asks, do we really want to waste any more time on the grievances we hold – no matter how legitimate and hurtful? Do we want to be like the men Alfred Lord Tennyson describes? “Two aged men, that had been foes for life, Met by a grave, and wept – and in those tears They washed away the memory of their strife: Then wept again the loss of all those years.”
The answer is no! As Joan Chittister concludes “forgiveness puts life back together again” because “life does not have to be perfect to be perfect; it only needs to be forgiving – and forgiven.”
As long as the weather doesn’t turn white or a sheet of ice, there will be music at the Center every Tuesday night in December. Tonight Truman Boler will be playing. And come early because Truman draws a crowd like a cold winter day draws electricity. Next Tuesday you can enjoy an evening of “double your pleasure and double your fun” with the Jazz Generations and the Notecrackers both playing on the same night. The music starts at 7:00 and the cost is zippo, but donations will show Santa what a good boy or girl you are.
The answer to last week’s question was Gillette, the company that sponsored the Cavalcade of Sports every Friday night. Marcia Wynn’s name was drawn from the six correct answers that were submitted and wins a free breakfast – but only if she brings Al – to this Saturday’s Christmas breakfast. Mill Creek Point has planned special surprises to go along with a breakfast of Texas French Toast, scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, plus fruit and your favorite beverages.
This week I am going to spice things up a bit by offering a bottle of Bolton Cellars’ fine wine – thanks to Design Structures – instead of a free breakfast. I will see who prefers wine over breakfast – or who considers a glass of wine to be breakfast. So in the Christmas spirit, the question this week is “In what movie was the song “White Christmas” first sung?” Call 296-4788, email to email@example.com or drop your answer off at the Center by midnight on Wednesday.
It’s almost the end of another year. Until we meet again, don’t forget to not only listen with your ears, but also with your eyes, your head and your heart.
“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” Thomas S. Szasz