Tonight, I began crossing a bridge I once crossed long ago in my own past. I saw the swaying of the bridge, the roiling seas below, and made the decision to reverse myself now! It was a good call. I hated the journey the first time!
There are certain things in our lives that are best left in the past, and forgiven, and then, never re-visited. As a marital counselor and a pastor, such was my counsel in even the worse of situations. If I could be blunt – there is some shyte better forgiven and allowed to die in the memory banks.
Some things simply are not worth remembering, if you had them figured out at the time of their occurrence. And when it occurred to me in writing tonight (now last night), was that I almost lost myself as matters originally unfolded. I lost any desire to re-visit any of it. I can honestly say that of everyone involved (15), I am the only one who did so, and am now, over 50 years later, am the only one on good speaking terms with all but one, who doesn’t talk to anyone – another point best left alone, thank you. 🙂
The one thing I came away with from the effort tonight, was a lot of thought and still a lot of missing Sweet Mama Lou. She was my antidote, as I was hers, too. In way inexplicable, she brought about the healing for which I had longed for decades. Trying to go back would be tantamount to profaning her memory, which I will not and cannot do. None of that has to do with the most previous post at all, for the record. That, I know she wanted for me!
Grief has the oddest blessings, you know, of all the emotions. It hurts like hell, never goes away, although the pain does lessen with time, and reminds us of better days to come – not merely in the temporal mode. Those days do come! And we find we can rejoice!
I am not saying “Bury your past!” Nor am I saying “Pretend things never happened.” The former is pure escapism, the latter but a lie. Beside the fact that neither ever work, I’ve never been good at either, either, and this late date is not time to experiment otherwise. Forgive, move on, and let God work with the “forgetting” part. He’s done an excellent job thus far. Tonight I forgot about that, and three paragraph’s into things, remembered it. Two clicks and it was gone. Good. Immediate relief!
Which brings me to two key points of the One Holy Faith. One – yes, as St. Paul cautions, it is best to avoid the contentious ones. They will never permit themselves to consider what it is they do, and I for one, understand fully what the Apostle meant. Second – forgiveness has not only long-term effects within us, but is promised to lead us to eternity. The Lord Christ provides it in such abundance that we can share it with everyone . . . including ourselves!
Sad to say, so many simply walk away from the Lord’s grace. I cannot imagines holding onto, or nursing 60 years old grudges and imagined hurts. The point? None – except for the one doing so. It has become their best-favored companion in life, and as with the deformed husband in Lewis’ masterpiece The Great Divorce, it causes them to become smaller and smaller each time they do so. That has long been gone into the past for me, and tonight was an excellent reminder of why.
There is something so mysteriously normal, and yet beyond any of our perceptions, as forgiveness. In Divine Worship we speak of it constantly, and then walk out the door and often forget the conversation we just had. Of course, that is another indicator of our need for forgiveness. Despite our Holy Baptisms, the old Adam still pops up out of the water – being a “good swimmer” as Luther put it. It will take eternity for us to get past that mess within ourselves. But – at least, being cognizant of that fact can assist us in avoiding it many times.
As a child I was taught to pray that the Lord would not only protect us from evil and sin, but to protect us from the “near occasion” of sin. Being of the Faith and in grace, we have the delightful opportunity to serve the Lord in gladness and seek righteousness, or see it as a chore and drudgery we must endure. Why, I ask, do we do that to ourselves? Were I ever inclined to give satan a pass on causing a sin, it would be that one – our failure to rejoice and live in the true joy of forgiveness. Pastor put it well in his sermon today:
“Screw your face into its best scowl, pointed down, mouth small, brows low and then say in your lowest voice – ‘Peace! Joy! Christ is Risen!!”
Yet, it is a fact many live in such a disconnect, and part of the task of us all is to lift faces and scowls and lowered brows and un-purse tight lips – in ourselves and others. The very purpose of what I call the Divine Repetition of the Holy Liturgy, is that it works most everyone out of such a disconnect. I never tired of telling Lou I loved her, or hearing the same back from her. The next time will be glorious, but even here, there was that Divine Repetition which, like the Divine Liturgy, never grew old in its repetition, but ever more precious with time!
And it is there we realize some mighty bridge-building has been going on – since Jesus was conceived in His mother Mary’s womb, and nowhere more than at the Cross, and the Empty tomb. He crossed the bridge over death and sin, destroyed both, and invites us daily to now stroll in perfect safety over the bridge of His making!
And in the mystery of the Divine repetition of the Holy Liturgy, the proclamation of the Gospel, and the repetition of the Blessed Sacraments, we are constant reminded that our own bridge over death and sin has been built, and will last an eternity – no repairs needed. Oddly enough, that Divine repetition leads us to discover what so many say is impossible – the peace that passes all understanding, and the ability to actually forgive one another.
And that, I motion, is monumental! The REAL Golden Gate Bridge!