Being forgiven is only the beginning . . .

Starets Silouan

Starets Silouan

THE first year after I had received the Holy Spirit I thought to myself: The Lord has forgiven me my sins: grace is witness thereof. What more do I need? But that is not the way to think. Though our sins be forgiven we must remember them and grieve for them all our lives, so as to preserve a contrite heart. I did not do this and ceased to be contrite, and suffered greatly from evil spirits. And I was perplexed at what was happening to me, and said: My soul knows the Lord and His love. How is it that evil thoughts come to me? But the Lord had pity on me, and taught me the way to humble myself: Keep thy mind in hell, and despair not. Thus is the enemy vanquished; but when my mind emerges from the fire the suggestions of passion gather strength again.  ~ Starets Silouan


A Friday, last month

Life took a sudden turn, back then, which I’m intending to keep at a great distance from going bad. With a phone call, last Friday, the manger of my apartment building changed my immediate life by telling me that I am soon to be booted out. It seems, from their first day of owning the building, they should have told to leave. I’d already been in the place for over 5 years with the previous owner. This little quasi-government agency needed to make this change not to because of my being a bad boy; nor as they admitted had I been a poor renter. Rather, they needed to be rid of me because I have been making too much off my private disability.

Here, though, is where that mid-Friday afternoon meeting’s flag took a delightful twist in gail force winds from the IRS. They, unlike the IRS, liked having me. So, they were being forced to be rid of someone all of them got along with. Nonetheless, I found delight in being told they were the one’s being raked over the coals and were, positively, apologetic to me.

Now, here is where my stress caught up with me. Their needing to have me out of their residence by the 1st of this February.

For a few hours, afterwards, I felt like I was being whipped around by those winds that had been whipping around the two housing authority managers. My being told, politely masked in a serious apology, to get out no later than the first of February invaded a decade of a calm life. It was my brother, Brad, who helped me focus in and discover the right move before that evening was passed.

Brad suggested, or I’d be more on target to say, insisted that I consider living with our mother. For the past 8 to nearly 9 years she’s been dealing with dad, who’s now gone through three strokes and has been in a nursing for the past two years. He is now formally cared for in a hospice fashion within that nursing home. Mom is now living on her own on the ranch.

Well, rather than waiting two weeks, I succumbed to my brother’s suggestion. I was packed and all my stuff, minus what I needed out on the ranch, was in storage on the 23rd. Brad’s wife Shelley was the only one being short changed since I sought shelter at their place for the night. That next morning, Saturday, Brad, fortunately it is only metaphorical, tossed me in the trunk of his car and hauled my carcass out to be with mom.


Why are so few of us willing to slide the weight of resentment off of our backs? At least, for the moment, I have come to see forgiveness as our real motive to hold resentment close.Recovery Visions

Across my years, I’ve known this point too well. I’ve known it personally by keeping my distance from, at least, a few people. You know this as well, I’m certain. My chasms between myself and that other is, usually, well kept on both sides. Our ravine are often chipped away at by the fingers we have pointing at each other. Each of us, typically, hauled those boulders of memories out of the bottom but not to be rid of. Those are carted off to display, proving how right we were about them.JudgmentalChristiansAreTheWorstHypocrites

After beginning my various kinds of counseling, social worker and emergency interventions, I discovered other dimensions of resentment. For instance, I came to know what it meant to be pushed aside.

A teenager, with her mother beside her, cried out about being molested by her high school coach. Two things happened after that. Rightfully, we had her moved into the care of a female psychologist after that. However, when the school’s teachers and parents were drawn into conference, I was excluded.

I wasn’t offended by not being at the centered of the group. Our little teams’ founding psychologist and consulting psychiatrist were the right people, for the moment. However, none of those parents and teachers were later directed to me. It meant that those two gained all the income and prestige and my young family gained no improvement in our income.

resentment-hoarderMy not wanting to be those peoples’ sole focus of attention was on the mark. I was just past beginning my career and needed to watch and learn from those with more than a few years of experience. However, I was deprived of a simple benefit. Why were none of those people who came to our clinic because of this unfolding trauma directed to me?

Here is where I began knowing what it meant to be professionally piqued. It is here that I, several years later, began needing to repent. While those memories are well retained even after losing a part of my brain, the true nature of those feelings were not owned for over a decade. I had not truly forgiven those two professionals for, yes, hogging the caseload. Even now, I am forced to, once again, face into the trident of anger, resentment and bitterness over that loss.

Men in Black movie image Tommy Lee Jones and Will SmithEach time this one and a host of other memories creep out of my memory’s rocks, I repeat the process . . . I, once again, lay those memories and feelings back down, but now focus on forgiving myself. Resentment isn’t part of those memories. It is accomplish through what I do with those memories.