Friday, March 30, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

My spirit life has been commandeered by Pelican. Pelican, with his message of forgiveness and release. Pelican, to whom I nodded and smiled last August, in acknowledgement and thanks for a lesson put forth and learned. Or so I thought.

I suppose I thought that simply realizing that there were people and situations I had to forgive and release was the extent of the lesson. I understood that I harbored resentment against a whole legion of those who had populated my life during my tenure at the restaurant. Looking back at those years always devolved into an unpleasant review of this laundry list of people and experiences that had hurt me, vexed me or left me completely abandoned.

Ex-landlord. Ex-employees. Ex-customers. Former competitors. The City of Scappoose. The State of Oregon. Every purveyor who had ever screwed me or dropped me.

My husband...

So when Pelican appeared last summer, I believed I confronted and forgave all that. I accomplished this with one rather tidy technique: I simply quit looking back. I have kept my eyes studiously either closed in repose or searching the horizon for my new path. I guess I believed that the very fact that I could look ahead, rather than wallow in the hurt and the bitterness, meant I had done as Pelican had bade me.

But Pelican has not gone away.

And I realized today that, if I ever knew what forgiveness was, if I had ever actually bestowed it upon anyone in my life who had done me a bad turn (and I think I have), I’ve either forgotten what it was, or forgotten how to give it. Or that endless five years of constant emotional assault has built up such a huge well of hurt and bitterness that whatever I knew of forgiveness is completely powerless against it. I feel like I’ve been asked to clean up a lake of blood with a thimble full of bleach and a Q-tip.

The more I know the less I understand
All the things I thought I figured out I have to learn again
I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about
Even if, even if…

I think Pelican is going to be with me for a very long time...


  1. Miroslav Volf, The End of Memory.

  2. I tried to leave a comment on your previous post but blogger would not let me - error messages twice. But I wanted to say that I do think that the Divine is speaking to you and clearly you are listening - which is movement, if even you feel like you are not moving.

    And the nature of forgiveness is curious. It is more about releasing the hold that sorrow, brokenness or hurt has on you so that it does not eat you up and make you bitter. How one does that varies. Sometimes one can forgive (let go of the hurt) and sometimes one can also reconcile the hurt - but reconciliation takes two - you and the other party...and so reconciliation is more difficult to accomplish. In essence the hope is that we are able to repair damaged relationships - even if the only repair that can happen is the damage to our selves which we accomplish by relinquishing the hold the hurt has on us.

    Robin recommends a book I have not read but I am sure it is good. I also suggest a tiny book by Barbara Brown Taylor called "Speaking of Sin" - it is very readable and she makes a lot of sense.

    Anyway, Pelican is calling.