Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! It's a chilly December morning. Time to 'fess up!


A terrible argument this past Sunday has left me struggling with the concept of forgiveness. Specifically, how do you forgive someone who doesn't deserve it? Many of us have had people in our lives--parents, lovers, friends--who have hurt us beyond repair. I see it all the time, innocent victims forgiving murderers and abusers. With the passing of Nelson Mandela, we're reminded that he never sought retribution for 27 years of imprisonment.

I write. I connect with friends and family. I work hard to let it all go. Yet when I think I'm through with the past, there it is again. The bad penny. Resentment sets in. It's not like the other person wants or needs my forgiveness, so this is really about me.

So how this forgiveness thing work? And before you say I need to forgive myself, I have. That's not even the issue. But I don't think I can forgive and forget. Really, what's that even about?

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If forgiveness is a choice, and if I choose to let it all go, then I guess the choice is about me. How do I move beyond this moment. Right now. What am I going to do with my one wild and precious life?, to quote Mary Oliver?

I know I'm making strides every day by staying connected to the people who have my best interest at heart. I have work that sustains me and a life shrouded in poetry. I teach. I raise a family. I write. I make a difference. I know my purpose. I am grateful for all of it. Is it enough to keep doing what I'm doing so the pain of the past subsides?

I don't know. I just don't know.

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Speaking of gratitude, I want to thank the folks that kept me grounded this weekend. For the long talks over the phone, the conversations over coffee, cookies, tea, fajita salads--all of it. Thank you. I am grateful.

I am extremely grateful to Colleen, who picked us up and got all of us to school when my car battery died yesterday on the coldest morning of the year. Equally, I am grateful to Kevin for giving me a ride home.

I'm also grateful to AAA. *smile*

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This week, I'm going to Mendham, NJ, for my annual writers retreat with Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Laura Boss. The appropriately titled Writing My Way Home is held every year at a convent. I can't think of a better place to get a little perspective on forgiveness. I need this weekend like plasma.

My goal is to write new poems and start revising the November drafts. This is the last teaching week in the semester, so once the grading is through, I can return to writing poetry with my whole heart.

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My daughter, Ella, and I are memorizing "Invictus" together. She's 8 and full of awesomeness!

****

"I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul"

5 comments:

Susan Rich said...

Thinking of you and wishing you well. All good things at your writing retreat -- Much love, Susan

January said...

Thanks, Susan. Hope you are well. XO

Nin Andrews said...

Oh, I love your honesty. You made me feel so much better today. What is that? Some unforgivable relief in finding others suffering the same thing? I just listened to a tape on forgiveness and yeah, I think it helped. A little. But it's complicated . . .

Anyhow . . .

Have a great retreat! Write tons. Love, Nin

January said...

Thanks, Nin. The writing helps. So does comments like yours. XO

Kelli Russell Agodon said...

I recently read somewhere that when you forgive someone you aren't saying that you approve of what they did, but you are saying to yourself that it's okay and you don't have to carry that pain anymore. I liked that.

I also like my how my friend forgives, she says, "I'm sorry you were acting that way..." Basically not saying she apologies for anything, but for the person him/herself, which cracks me up.

Good post. I've been trying to do a confession today, but I have nothing of interest to say.

love to you.xo

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