My hard thing is forgiveness, which could also be argued as my easy thing. When someone hurts my feelings, when someone is thoughtless in their interactions with me - I can usually push it aside, see their motivation, hear their apology (if there is one), and forgive them in my heart. It is forgotten!
But... to the person who violated our friendship, to the person who should be more supportive when I need it most, and to the two mentor figures who treated me like disposable talent, I have a hard time with my Grudge.
My capital-G grudge is what keeps forgiveness at bay. They all haunt me, because the root of the blame is usually myself, and the mistakes I've made. If you had only... echoes down the hall. I try to sleep at night. I tell myself I won't shy away from reconciling myself to the Lord. To forgive others heals me, and I am afraid to keep asking for all the grace and forgiveness I really, truly need. Like a child who has tasted the water from the well, I keep asking: Please God. Please God, be with me. Help me Lord. Help me!
In the readings on Sunday, the theme was, God listens to those who persist. Abraham talked to God about lowering the numbers of good men, so as to save Sodom and Gomorrah (from 50 to 10, so I would say he was persistent). In the Gospel, Jesus said, "And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Luke 11:9-10).
I ask, I seek, I knock in my writing. My purpose in writing this is simply to vocalize my hurt. My purpose in writing anything is to vocalize words in a different order than the way they appear in my head - rushed, jumbled, excited. It's why I love the sacrament of Confession so much - it's more than silently making my peace with the Lord, more than crying and being repentant. It's physically saying the words out loud to the priest, who is acting in the person of Christ. It's saying I'm sorry to the person who loves me so much, he would suffer death again, just for me. It's knowing I am forgiven, when I struggle to forgive myself. I need that verbal affirmation from the only person who will never disappoint me.
I am fighting against how scared I am; how I have been hurt, over and over and over again. I've been betrayed. I've felt broken. I'm struggling to heal. And I wonder how truly, truly hurt Jesus was - emotionally - when Judas kissed him, killed him with the kindness.
Elora, the "Story101 midwife" as Shelby (fellow workshop-er) dubbed her, issued this additional challenge: Consider what Bradbury asks. When was the last time your real love or real hatred showed itself in your writing?
Ray Bradbury, in the Zen in the Art of Writing, wrote:
How long has it been since you wrote a story where your real love or your real hatred somehow got onto the paper? When was the last time you dared release a cherished prejudice so it slammed the page like a lightning bolt? What are the best things and the worst things in your life, and when are you going to to get around to whispering or shouting them?I know I've written of love, real love: the way Christ has utterly transformed my heart; the way my family misses me and loves me; the way my husband cares for me and tells me so, the way he says, "I love us"; the way my baby moves and grooves; the way I'm learning to create a home, and not merely living to establish myself-- but real hatred? I shudder. Hate is so dark, so ugly. Perhaps, however, hate is what I think I feel towards those few people, and it's hard for me to admit that. I prefer "a very strong dislike." I don't hate the people, either - I hate their actions. I hate the way they don't see how they hurt me. I hate the way they live their lives without a second thought to how they hurt me. I hate that, even though I've tried to vocalize my hurt, I've been drowned into silence. And so I sit by the dark water and dip my toes in, afraid of the hate monsters that lurk beneath.
Blessed Mother Teresa said,
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”And so, yes, ultimately, that earthly, human, prideful hurt is unresolved. That's hard too. My life is not consumed by this hurt, though - only colored. I hope it will grow more pale in the days and years to come. To dwell is to feed the hate monsters. To be hateful is to lessen your own humanity, and to give less to one's fellow man than what is due to him or her: respect, love as an action, and forgiveness. Life is too short for anything else.