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The Other Side of Forgivness

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dave and I had been friends for close to ten years. About five years ago, Dave went through some really dramatic changes in his life. I offered as much support as I could but Dave gradually slipped into a life style that was destructive and dangerous. In short, he scared me. I tried reasoning; I tried yelling and screaming, group intervention, the whole nine yards but to no avail. Dave, as we used to say in the 70’s; “checked out.” It was then I learned that practicing “You are who you hang around with,” is much tougher than repeating it like some sort of mantra. During one final, emotional encounter, Dave and I parted ways and I haven’t heard from him for almost five years.

One thing I’ve been working on for a while is creating space inside of myself for health and wholeness and removing the things that keep me from reaching that place. So I lie in bed one night last week simply reflecting on life in general and Dave crossed my mind. Our parting wasn’t pleasant. It was necessary but not pleasant. Dave chose a path to walk I couldn’t abide by. Anyone who tells you love isn’t ever painful has never known true love. I’m not sure if I was angry, frustrated or a little of both but as I lie there last week it crossed my mind that I could have handled it better. My next thought was that after five long years I owed Dave an apology for the way I’d handled things.

I sent Dave an email late Monday evening. I told him I didn’t know how to begin so I simply told him I was sorry for the tone, tenor and some of the language I used during our last meeting. I told him I didn’t have a hidden agenda and that I didn’t have five months to live or anything like that. I handled the situation wrong and for that I was sorry. I have to tell you, I felt a large weight leave my shoulders when I hit the “send” button and then I forgot about it. I was surprised that Dave answered my email. I wasn’t expecting it and hadn’t written it to illicit a response. I wrote it because my heart told me it was the right thing to do. I was apologizing; not looking for forgiveness.

Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the publican. The Pharisee always made a point to walk to the front of the temple and make a show of his praise, a sorta “Hey God look at me!!! Thank goodness I’m not like any of these other people. I ALWAYS do the right things. I NEVER do this or that. Dang, I am an amazing person, aren’t I”

In the back of the temple sat the publican. Best I can figure is the publican was the guy was frowned upon socially, morally and professionally. They weren’t held in high self- esteem. They probably struggled a lot in life and had a hard time getting things right and most often “stepped in it” more often than not. Jesus says the publican sat in the back of the temple simply praying “God have mercy on me a sinner.” Jesus then asked the crowd which person prayers his Father heard. (I always see myself sitting somewhere in the middle of that temple – Not to humble but not too proud either.)I hadn’t told anyone about my apology letter, not even Joan, and I tell Joan everything. (Joan often raises her hand and shouts “TMI John, TMI)

Dave’s response was unnerving. In short he told me he was glad I had suffered and NO HE WOULDN’T FORGIVE ME. I felt bad for a few moments. Maybe he misunderstood or maybe I didn’t communicate clearly so I wrote back and told him I wasn’t asking for his forgiveness, I was apologizing for my actions. His forgiveness would be freely given or not. Like the publican I was acknowledging “my sin.” Dave’s response was two words.

Jesus tells us that each day we must pick our cross and follow his path. The Buddha teaches that before we reach that moment of joy and bliss that suffering is necessary. It’s the other side of forgiveness. It comes when we extend a hand and sincerely apologize and our apology is rebuffed. It doesn’t minimize the effect, but sometimes it hurts.

Namaste dear ones

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 3/19/2013 2:09PM

    Isn't it great to reach a point in life when you realize you do not have to try and change people, and you cannot change them anyway even if you tried. That was one of the hardest lessons I ever learned in this life, and some days I still have to remember it.

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CHRISTINASP 2/12/2013 3:37PM

    I thought a bit more today about this entry. I'm thinking that regardless of his response, your mail to him may still have a positive impact on him. Even if he's not able to respond to you in kind right now, maybe later on he will reflect on it and appreciate it... or not.
Maybe the fact that you mailed him and apologized may lead to HIS someday apologizing to someone else. So you have probably made a good choice in mailing him. Sometimes it takes years for a person, well, for me anyway, to realize what a certain gesture by someone means.
Then I was also thinking that you could also have written that letter but not sent it and just pray for D. and send him your love / good thoughts.

Comment edited on: 2/12/2013 3:39:28 PM

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WALKNLOVE 2/12/2013 5:52AM

    YOU did the right thing....whether he accepted it or not. 5 years had passed, and you felt in your heart it was the right thing to do, and I believe, of what I know of you, you were walking in love back then, just as you are now. I have a friend too, who has choosen " a different path". I have debated between myself to intervene or not. I know one choice leaves me without a friend, and the other leaves an open door, that should she come to her senses, she will know I have always been here, waiting & praying for her. We talk from time to time on fb, but that's about it. Sometimes she reminences on the past, and sometimes, "she's out there". It does hurt, either way, because the friend I knew, is not there any more. It might not be a physical death, but it is still a grieving process. I pray God sends you a new friend...one equally important to you as the last. God has a way of doing that. I know he did for me. and while they may not be that same person, they sure do help. The truth is, they are a real gift from God! BUT, so is every true friend, and they shape and mold us into better people. Ones that try to love as God did! Continue to pray for your old friend....you never know when they might make that turn & realize they need you. Even if they don't, or you don't see it, prayer does change things. Blessings to you my friend. * And I just said a prayer for you! And keep right on loving God & loving people....It's what we are called to do! emoticon

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NASFKAB 2/12/2013 5:11AM

  you did the right thing all the best

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SEEINGCLEARLY53 2/12/2013 12:15AM

    I think you did the right thing,,,,,his response I think shows you , you did the right thing in the first place by ending the relationship,,,,,take care......

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GEEMAWEST 2/12/2013 12:07AM

    You did the right thing and that's all you can do. emoticon

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CARTOONB 2/11/2013 11:38PM

    It sounds like Dave isn't one of those folks you want to be around right now. You have to like you and not worry about what the rest of us think. It seems like you're doing that pretty well.

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BBECKER1955 2/11/2013 7:39PM

    You did the right thing, regardless of the response. Sleep well my friend. Excelsior!

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NWFL59 2/11/2013 7:30PM

    Nameste emoticon

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HDHAWK 2/11/2013 7:22PM

    Ouch John. Sometimes doing the right thing does hurt. I have a feeling your friend hasn't checked back in to life yet or he would have responded differently.

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MOBYCARP 2/11/2013 5:10PM

    Yeah, that's the tough part about forgiveness. Sometimes, for your own sake, you need to forgive someone without being able to achieve reconciliation. You did the right thing. You apologized, and you communicated the apology, and you gave Dave a chance for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation.

It didn't happen, but that doesn't mean it was wrong to forgive Dave and apologize. This will still benefit you.

You're a better man than I am. I could find it in my heart to forgive someone like Dave in similar circumstances, but I doubt I would actually reach out and communicate an apology after five years of no contact. That doesn't make my way right; I know full well that your way is better.

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CHRISTINASP 2/11/2013 2:34PM

    Yes, I understand that hurts.

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ANATASHIKI 2/11/2013 2:06PM

    John , there 's a good thing in this. if he was glad you suffered it means he deserved the way you behaved and still deserves it. you don't have to feel guilty for it. it's your spirit , soul , heart , whatever that doesn't resonate with that vibration anymore. you did the right thing , move on. if he wants to stay there , good riddance!
it's weird you mention suffering is necessary. I do not believe that. I used to but not anymore. I truly believ that we can learn in other ways , not only through pain. but I can't force my conviction on my loved ones so I'm not pain proof, their pains are worse than mines. anyway , you remember that thing , now it's your turn to forgive him , he probably has no idea what he's doing

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OUBACHE 2/11/2013 12:51PM

    You've opened the door, but you can't force your friend to walk through it. But maybe someday he'll think about things differently and will be glad to find the door is still cracked a little bit. At least you can be at peace knowing you've done what you feel is right.

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TERRIPAL1 2/11/2013 12:40PM

    emoticon wow I'm shocked, but you're on the right path, and thanks for your blog I always learn something about life!

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KENDRACARROLL 2/11/2013 11:14AM

    emoticon
John.
You're such a sensitive guy.
emoticon

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CRYSTALJEM 2/11/2013 11:12AM

    An apology can be therapeutic for both parties but it doesn't have to be. You have "owned" your part, when Dave is ready he will own his part too. Until then, you've taken the step to balance yourself, and that's what "is" right now, just as it is meant to be... For now. Namaste.

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CC3833 2/11/2013 10:51AM

    Oh gosh. I know how this feels. I had a friend in college like this. She was fine but then decided to walk a path I was just not even willing to look at. I told her I would still be friends with her but only her not her new group. Needless to say she picked the other group. It didn't end well and then when I saw her a year or so later she wasn't the nicest to me... so be it. I tried to help and that's all I could do.

I bet it does sting a bit to be told that you aren't forgiven. But like you said you weren't asking for it. You don't give to charity asking for something in return.



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SHERIO5 2/11/2013 9:46AM

    Ouch. I have been in your shoes..it hurts. I still grieve for friendship broken..

Character has been described as doing the right thing...even when no one sees or appreciates...

Peace

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VICKI-BISHOP56 2/11/2013 9:24AM

  I'm glad you found peace and hopefully one day your old friend will get his head screwed on straight. It's between him and God now. emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 2/11/2013 9:20AM

    Well done, John. I'm proud of you.

And, much more importantly, your Heavenly Father is very proud of you too!

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CELIAMINER 2/11/2013 9:01AM

    You took the high road. I'm sad for you that Dave responded as he did, but I'm happy for you that you have such a mature attitude about it. I had a similar situation a few years ago. A couple I knew split very acrimoniously when the woman was pregnant, and I ran as fast as I could away from the situation. She had reached out to me, and I was terrified she would want me to "carry her" through and somehow make things right. It was a terrible thing to do, and I regretted it for years. Finally, I tracked down an address for her and wrote an actual letter to apologize. She never answered. But the good that came out of my writing that letter was letting go of guilt and forgiving myself. Her response of no response was her choice.

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MICKEYMAX 2/11/2013 8:58AM

    John, I am proud of you for doing what you did. Bummer on Dave and his responses, but you cannot change him. Congrats on recognizing that you needed to do what is best for you. I am always sad to see the end of a friendship, but sometimes it just has to be that way.

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DEBRITA01 2/11/2013 8:48AM

    When we apologize and it's not accepted it is difficult to process. We have to remind ourselves that this is the other person's option. In knowing that Dave doesn't have to forgive you, but you can choose to forgive him (and yourself) , that can bring some peace. emoticon

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TRISTAROSE 2/11/2013 8:47AM

    emoticon

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REGILIEH 2/11/2013 8:41AM

    Interesting! One more proof that you did what you neede to do when you cut the relationship, and proof that your former friend is still in the unhealthy lifestyle. Of you already knew he was still in his unhealthy lifestyle or he would have contacted you. It is so sad to see those we care for destroy themselves, or for that matter it is sad to see anyone destroy themselves.

Keep the faith! emoticon

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DOODIE59 2/11/2013 8:41AM

    You did the right thing, and for the right reasons. The forgiving is not the point. I do think, though, that your apology may sink in over time and allow your one-time friend to heal a little. And that will help him grow and find some ease. I strongly believe that what we can do to help alleviate other people's pain and turmoil is worth doing.
Hugs,
Deirdre

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ATAMBE 2/11/2013 8:41AM

  As mother Terese said in the end it is between you and God..

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PICKIE98 2/11/2013 8:41AM

    I am going out on a limb and assuming Dave's answer was not "Apology accepted" or "It's okay"..
I think I know what it was.
You did exactly the right thing, BUT the best thing that happened here was the affirmation that Dave WAS and is still is, in the same place and behavior that he was in five years ago,, You made the right decision, your gut told you what was morally right and you acted upon it at that time and in the present.
We have to accept other people's behavior. We do not, however, have to tolerate unacceptable behavior in any form.

It is very hard to detach the behavior from the person, but it is still possible to love a person but detach them from our life. Praying for a spiritual awakening is a great option here.

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Cereal Boxes

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

I looked up from my bowl of Cheerio's and said to Joan; "When Dorothy (her mom) would buy a box of cereal did you guys fight over who would get to read the back of the box first. She said yes, especially if there was some sort of prize in the bottom of the box. I had to smile because Joan is one of nine children and I had this image in my mind of cereal flying everywhere.

Reading the back of the box was one of the great joys of my youth. Even though I'd read the same box five or six mornings in a row I still looked for something I might have missed. Saturdays meant new cereal. (There were four of us kids.) If you caught my mom is the right mood you could go along with her and there was an extra treat if the cereal box had a new back cover.

This morning I looked at a yellow background with one large word "Trusted." I've given up reading the newspaper, especially first thing in the morning, its a downer. I sorta looked forward to reinvesting in the Cheerios box.

"Why do ya think they stopped putting stuff on the back of the box?" I asked Joan.

"Probably because people are to busy looking at Facebook and Pintrest on their phones in the morning." she answered

That made sense. Like so many other things I'd hung onto the cereal box has fallen victim to modern technology. But I have to wonder. Do you think there might be a cereal box, smart phone app?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 3/19/2013 2:04PM

    I, too, was a cereal box reader and would read them again and again. I'm sure that's why I started reading ingredient lists, though back then I didn't care if sugar was at the top of the list. I used to eat scrapple until I was a teenager and read the ingredients and never ate it again. Snouts.

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JUNIAATROME 2/9/2013 7:54AM

    You should kept the idea to yourself and just sold it! I hope you do find one. emoticon

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BBECKER1955 2/6/2013 7:09AM

    Funny what you remember. I seemed to remember shredded wheat boxes having particularly interesting boxes.

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MOBYCARP 2/6/2013 6:19AM

    I remember more interesting cereal boxes on the junkier cereal marketed to kids. I've seen similar stuff on the bags for kid's meals at McDonald's. Maybe Cherrios are too healthy to be worth the marketing effort.

In my case, the cereal box hasn't died because of technology, it's died because of eating healthy. I just don't buy boxed cereal any more. I buy steel cut oats in bulk, and rolled oats in a round box than never had interesting stuff to read even when I was a kid.

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NASFKAB 2/6/2013 5:10AM

  my 10 year old grandson does it

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CC3833 2/5/2013 2:24PM

    Haha that's funny. I can't say me and my sister's ever fought over who got to read it first, but I did/ still do find myself reading the back of the box and doing the puzzles again and again. Don't know why.... there is just something about it.

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CRYSTALJEM 2/5/2013 2:07PM

    If there isn't there should be. One of the great pleasures in life. We buy the big boxes and put in plastic cereal containers. Just realized how much I actually miss that morning tradition.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 2/5/2013 1:36PM

    Ha! I loved reading the back of the cereal box, Every.Single.Morning. I don't recall much of tug-o-war with my brother but I'm sure there was one. At Gma's house we got our own favorite box of cereal so we didn't have to share - SCORE! Of course Gma's was 150 miles away and we only went there on special occasions, which made things extra special.

Aw, John, you know there's an App for everything. Did you find one? Of course, I have to go look now.

Comment edited on: 2/5/2013 1:39:49 PM

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MORTICIAADDAMS 2/5/2013 12:58PM

    LOL. I miss so many things from my childhood like this. My dad is in his early 80s and he still complains that he ate a lot of gaggy cereal because I wanted the cheap prize inside. He only liked plan corn flakes. LOL.

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MARITIMER3 2/5/2013 12:28PM

    I'm an only child so had the cereal box all to myself. Can't really remember reading the back of the box, but certainly dug for the prizes!

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SLIMLEAF 2/5/2013 10:33AM

    emoticon

I, too, am a box reader. I sometimes try to guess the ingedients of a food product and the order in which those ingredients will be written on the box. I've also wondered about making a party game out of it, or getting people to match the list of ingredients to the product. Am I sad?!

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SHERIO5 2/5/2013 9:37AM

    emoticon

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HDHAWK 2/5/2013 8:57AM

    If not, you could develop one! emoticon

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VICKI-BISHOP56 2/5/2013 8:54AM

  You brought back my childhood with this blog. Back then we didn't bother reading the nutritional info ( if it was even there back then). But it was fun reading all the other stuff on the box. And if there was a prize in the box, so much better. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WEEPINGANGEL74 2/5/2013 8:54AM

    There's an app for everything or so it seems

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DEBRITA01 2/5/2013 8:31AM

    Oh, how I loved reading the cereal box as a child...my kids did, too. This blog brought me back in time. Can't remember the last time I stopped to read the cereal box (other than nutritional info) but I will tomorrow for old time's sake. emoticon

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And Faith Is The Most Difficult

Monday, February 04, 2013

I sat in church yesterday morning and listened to that beautiful reading from Paul 1st Corinthians Chapter 13. Student of the bible or not you've heard it at weddings and saw it on numerous greeting cards. "Love is patient, love is kind...." it opines. It tells us that if we are eloquent, wise and perceptive to all things in life and speak without love, well, we have nothing. It concludes with the mighty and thunderous line, "In short three things will last, faith, hope and love. Of these three love is the greatest." ( I realize my translation is loose, but you get the point.) From deep inside a quiet voice added "And faith is the most difficult."

I doubt myself a million times per day. Despite all the Divine reassurance available to me I still choose to go my own way and be left to my own devices. There is a proverb that states "Man plans and God laughs." It's as if I reach a point in my day to day life, lift my head skyward to say "Thanks so much. I'll take it from here."

Jesus once said "Blessed are those who cant see and still believe." I rarely count myself in that group. I'm more like Thomas who demanded to see the risen Jesus a sort of ancient "cash on the barrel head."

I monitor my intake, I exercise, I mediate and pray and if, after a prescribed period of time, mostly defined by me, things aren't going according to Hoyle, well its time to bail out. I must be doing something wrong and to trust a deity, a process or a practice may work for everyone else but not for me, thank you very much.

Love is ooey gooey. Faith is hard work. It's tough, it requires attention to detail and that nasty work "discipline." Faith means that no matter which way the wind is blowing you keep walking the same path over and over.

Yeah, faith is the most difficult but sandwiched in between it and love is the little noticed virtue of hope. Each morning I look skyward and I muster enough faith to hope that today is the day I see the path clearer.

I wont quit, nor will I give up. Some days that virtue of faith is like gnawing on a chunk of hard bread. It's cold comfort.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLIMLEAF 2/4/2013 4:44PM

    I agree with you to a point, John, but not entirely.

You see, I would not say love was ooey gooey at all. I think (and from some measure of experience) that love can be incredibly hard and costly and painful. It can take just as much discipline, determination and perseverence as ever faith can. After all, in 1 Corinthians 13 Paul's description of love is a very tall order to live up to and adds at the end "Love never gives up." What, never?

Love can be an utter delight and make our hearts sing and our feet float off the ground, but it can also break your heart, cause you to lose sleep and give everything you've got.

So perhaps - if you agree - we could sort of call it 'evens' between faith and love?

Now, who wants to speak up for Hope?!

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MARITIMER3 2/4/2013 2:32PM

    We had exactly the same reading yesterday... are you E piscopalian? You're right - both love and faith take a lot of work. But they're both worth it.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 2/4/2013 1:37PM

    I have had periods where my situation was so dire that all I could count on was faith. You learn then that God is the one you can truly trust and depend on and that's the way he actually wants it.

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KATHRYN1955 2/4/2013 1:15PM

    Sometimes it is very difficult to know what is our will and what is God's will, especially for us control freaks. We can trick ourselves into thinking life's daily temptations are actually God's plan for us. (After all, it was God who really wanted me to have that 2nd piece of chocolate cake and lie on the couch and watch reruns of MASH!!).
If faith is trusting God's plan for us, that is indeed a very challenging bit of work, something I am sure, I will be wrestling with until I draw my last breath!!
I really don't think we are meant to have all the answers. only that we at least ask the hard questions and share with others in our struggles.
Take care,
Kathy

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NEEDBU66 2/4/2013 11:56AM

    Oh Lord! I believe! (Help me in my unbelief.)

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ANATASHIKI 2/4/2013 10:19AM

    I think it depends , sometimes the hardest is faith , other times it's love or hope. sometimes I can't see the evidence I need standing under my nose. but every time I'm full of doubts something magical happens and I'm reminded in a gentle way that all is good.

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REGILIEH 2/4/2013 9:52AM

    Your words remind me that in today's world so many seem to have no hope. The sad part is there are so many little children that have no hope so they cannot even come across faith.

You are always thought provoking! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VICKI-BISHOP56 2/4/2013 9:38AM

  emoticon

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SHERIO5 2/4/2013 9:27AM

    emoticon

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DEBRITA01 2/4/2013 9:15AM

    In a world of instant everything it's hard to have faith...we want to see or know now, but I guess that is where trust comes in.

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HDHAWK 2/4/2013 9:08AM

    Very good!

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SHSCHLEIN 2/4/2013 8:50AM

  AMEN!!! (and thank you so much for sharing this!)

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MYOWNHERO 2/4/2013 8:30AM

    You have such a wonderful way with words ♥

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WILSON1926 2/4/2013 8:26AM

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS POST.I NEED IT TODAY.
MICHAEL

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Sunday Morning Reflections and Revelations

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Long before he became a country music legend, Kenny Rogers played in a rock band called The First Edition. One of their songs, “Tell It All Brother,” has a line within it that’s always haunted me. Simply put it says “And in the dungeons of your mind, who do you have chained to the wall?” We could tour my mind if you’d like but we might be here all day. If you want to learn how to hold grudges, I’m your guy. Hurt me, wound me, or offend me and I have a spot for you on that wall. It doesn’t have to be anything major either. It can be a slight or a mistaken offense and it will be a long time before I forgive you if ever. Thank goodness there aren’t too many people like me out here, huh? So as I’m sitting in church early this morning I had no trouble understanding the message that was written on my heart. “You won’t begin to heal until you learn to forgive.” Again, simply put, when there is so much judgment, animosity, prejudice and grudge holding going on inside of me is there really any room for goodness or healing?

I sat back in the pew and sighed. I’m not really sure where to begin. I get PO’d on a regular basis and it’s become a matter of practice to stay that way. A friend on Facebook posted a long rant yesterday on road rage and how she felt justified in its practice. That’s not what scared me. I found myself nodding right along with the ten people who added comments supporting the practice. We get mad and stay mad and with each successive slight or offense a small part of our hearts are partitioned off and we become more alienated.

Seriously friends, how many of you have tried every diet known in the cosmos, bought enough exercise DVD’s to have a healthy and profitable yard sale, and still never seen the scale move significantly and more importantly stay in a healthy range. With sincere apologies to the experts, carrot sticks, and celery served with Greek yogurts a bit more of a punishment than an opportunity. It’s like trying to cure cancer with ibuprofen. I often see myself standing in front of a door that’s padlocked and I’m holding this massive ring of keys. I keep trying to find the one that fits.

“You won’t begin to heal until you learn to forgive.”

As I tour my mind, looking at all those people I’ve nailed firmly to the wall I turn a corner and I see a large room and on that rooms wall is me, chained and unforgiving of myself. All my accumulated sins, transgressions and faults are there for all to see and I won’t forgive myself. Until I do I won’t ever even approach that elusive thing called health and happiness. Forgiveness creates a space inside of us that allows healing and once we embark on the road to health we can plant healthy behavior.

We have to believe in something. I call that something God and you may call that something other names but I’ll tell you unequivocally that unless that something is there to heal you your efforts are futile. There’s a passage in one of the Gospels where Jesus says he stands outside the door knocking, patiently waiting for us to let in the healing love. My poor eating habits, my reluctance to exercise are only symptoms of my unwillingness to forgive not only those around me, but to forgive myself.

“You won’t begin to heal until you learn to forgive.”

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 2/6/2013 1:50PM

    Loved this post. Reminded me of much of what Renee Stephen says in her quest to "eliminate the weight struggle from the planet!" How great is that intention!

You might check out IOWL (Inside Out Weight Loss) by Renee Stephens. There is a team on Spark (disclaimer! I am a team leader :) that has links to all her podcasts.

She speaks of all the the internal issues that keep us from reaching our goals; be they weight loss or anything else. And her method has nothing to do with eating carbs vs. proteins!! I think you would appreciate some of her insights.

She also advocates a sort of "forgiveness" technique called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

There is a Spark Team for that too and some links for it on the IOWL Team.

Good luck John and keep Sparking! You are awesome and I know if we keep at it, we will find the answers that work for us!

.★´*。.ύ
4;¨¯`*★¸.• Spread the Spark!!

Comment edited on: 2/6/2013 1:52:11 PM

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CRYSTALJEM 2/4/2013 11:31AM

    I used to hold a lot of grudges, still do from time to time, but over time I came to realize a few things, and sometimes I need a reminder - thanks for providing that today.

I realized that most of the grudges I held only got my blood pressure boiling - the person against whom I held the grudge was either oblivious or unfazed. While my blood boiled, and my attention was focussed, they went on living and enjoying their life. (I used to describe this as equivalent to continually hitting my head against a brick wall and wondering why my head hurt).

I also realized that I screw up a lot - sometimes in my opinion, sometimes in someone else's opinion. Either way, I found I could be the one the grudge was against - and I was pretty good at holding grudges against myself - you know, beating myself up over what I'd done, or not done.

It became clear to me that again, I had a choice - hold it or let it go. In 3 weeks, 6 months, 5 years, would it really matter; or really help? The answer that kept resonating in my brain was a clear and emphatic "No". No justification or explanation, just a resounding "No."

Since then, I've really tried to recognize when I'm holding a grudge, and I work to let it go. That doesn't mean I'm ok with being hurt, or injustices. It means that I will choose consciously how I will respond and I would try my best to choose responses that will help me take the first step up, instead of choices that will only help me stumble or fall.

I take heart in the philosophy "In greater terms positive and negative have little meaning, for the physical experience is meant as a learning one. "

Namaste. CJ
Great blog. Thanks.

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PATTILYNN224 2/4/2013 7:55AM

    Well said.

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NASFKAB 2/4/2013 4:38AM

  cant believe you hold grudges thought it was for people like me thanks for sharing wish I could forgive some more

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REGILIEH 2/3/2013 10:15PM

    John, I am shocked that you hold grudges! Someone with your insight is much smarter than that! Grudges are such a waste of time and energy! Give yourself a break, thankfully GOD does.!

You are terrific, don't forget that! emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 2/3/2013 5:40PM

    John, the more I read your blogs, the more I think you are an amazing person.
How do you find the courage to be so honest? This forgiveness thing is a difficult business but it's true that we can't be really healed until we learn to let go of our bitterness and grudges.
May you be blessed with grace as you go about 'unchaining' all those people on your dungeon wall - including yourself.

And I pray that I will do so too.

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SHERIO5 2/3/2013 5:22PM

    Lovely!

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MOBYCARP 2/3/2013 3:47PM

    Almost a decade ago I did some serious work on forgiveness. It was well worth the effort, and it really helped me feel better and appreciate life more. I highly recommend it.

But guess what? Forgiveness is a bit like losing weight. You work at, you succeed, you feel great . . . and you need to keep working on it the rest of your life in maintenance.

Thank you for the blog. While I'm not nearly as bad off in the forgiveness area as I have been in the past, you sparked me to slow down and consider a couple of maintenance areas I need to address.

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ANATASHIKI 2/3/2013 1:32PM

    beautiful said ! I'm oscillating between thinking I'm pretty forgiving and totally not forgiving :D. the truth is somewhere in the middle I think. and if I really am forgiving sometimes it's because grudges and resentfulness make me feel bad. really bad , not bad about myself. maybe all what we need is just learning to love ourselves as He does.so the first person we need to forgive is really us . emoticon

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DEBRITA01 2/3/2013 1:20PM

    God forgives all of us...we are freed when we do the same (although it's often hard). Anger and resentment hold us back and keep us from the peace we long for. Being kind to ourselves and others...forgiving...all takes acceptance. We don't have to like or agree with ____(fill in the blank) but accepting is the first step in change. I often think of the Serenity Prayer...it puts things in perspective for me. emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/3/2013 1:10PM

    Yeah, wow is the right word. Sometimes you sit there in church and something just puts itself right out there for you. May you let yourself (and the rest) off the dungeon walls.

Because ALL of you (even you, John) are covered by the grace of God. Let the healing begin! emoticon

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KATHRYN1955 2/3/2013 12:50PM

    I too, thought I was getting better at this forgiving others and myself business, but a recent trigger around addictions issues has me realizing that I have a ways to go yet. There are a few people, including myself, who are still chained to that wall in the dungeon. I need to set all us free in order to truly know that I deserve all that comes with healthier behaviour.
Self-sabotage comes in many forms.
Thank-you, once again, John, for being strong enough to share your (perceived) weaknesses.
Take care,
Kathy
emoticon emoticon emoticon
(healing angels for all of us!!)

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SILLYHP1953 2/3/2013 12:29PM

    Wow...again, Wow. I thought I was getting better at forgiving other people, not myself, but others. Then I started spending many nights at my mother's home after she broke her hip, and realized I have not fully forgiven her for not being there for me growing up. I guess there's a reason I'm the one staying with her cause I'm the one that needs to deal/heal. And I won't even begin to go into my inability to forgive myself, except that I am working on it. Thank you, John, as always, your carpentry skills are right on.

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GRAYCATBIRD 2/3/2013 12:28PM

    This is a beautiful post, one I needed to read today, too. I identified with so much of what you said! I'm trying to let my Higher Power lead me to emotional and physical health, and one of the loudest voices that's not letting me hear my Higher Power's guidance is that of self-condemnation. At a retreat I went to once, a Buddhist teacher said, "Compassion starts at home, and spreads." I asked that same teacher what I could do about my eating problem, and he said, "Self-kindness." He didn't elaborate -- that was it.

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VICKI-BISHOP56 2/3/2013 11:55AM

  Another good blog John, and one I needed today. Thank you. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HDHAWK 2/3/2013 11:41AM

    Oh boy. How do you always know what I'm thinking?! I have 2 people in my life (other than myself) that I know I should forgive. I don't even know how to start. I think I've tucked the feelings into a corner where I don't deal with them. I know, not a good plan.

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WISLNDR 2/3/2013 11:28AM

    I have a post-it note taped to my desk that says "Forgiveness leads to Healing." I wrote it down a few months ago as I was analyzing the path I am on right now and where I think I'd like to go from here. It's a powerful lesson I need to be reminded of every day; I'm happy to have discovered that you're on the same path!!

emoticon

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It's Not Your Fault

Saturday, February 02, 2013

A dear Spark friend lost their job this past week. It wasn't anticipated. It came out of the clear blue and well, we've all had those moments in our lives where we sit their numbly and seem to move as if by rote. Like losing a partner or a child the experience is so private and so personal that you are left standing there as if sand were running through your hands - anything you might say seems so damned inadequate. So you mumble the obligatory "I'm sorry," "I'm here for you," or "Ill pray for you." Silently you utter a prayer that thanks your deity of choice for not putting you through this experience.

For those of us who have been through this gut wrenching experience the gauntlet we run is agonizing. We scrutinize our selves, our performance at work. Did we upset someone? Was out work sub par?

"I'm a good person!!! Why would they get rid of me."

"I've got obligations and bills and..........."

Somedays there is not enough anti anxiety medication in the world to calm the storm but there is one solid and true fact I know for experience: No matter what anyone implies, it's not your fault.

Anxiety turns to anger and we lash out and blame and we look for some sort of answer that helps us balance the scales in our lives because we are so sure the rest of the world is judging us like crazy. After all, we just got fired. We feel embarrassed especially when we sort of shrug our shoulders and say "I'm really not sure why." We imagine the world doing one of those "Yeah right!" in response.

So if you've had this experience recently I can assure of you of three things:

It's not your fault
Pain is necessary, suffering is optional
"Be still and know that I am God."

One of my morning meditations this week said the following: "Quite often the pain and anxiety we feel over a life situation is simply God clearing a path for our success.

Namaste

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIRANIMAL 2/4/2013 7:47PM

    Oh, but man, is it ever hard to see that path when you're in the thick of it! I do believe god/the universe/etc. only gives us what we can handle, and that's why all my tribulations have taken other forms, because I would crumble in an instant at this one! Soooo hard, and my heart goes out to your friend!

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NASFKAB 2/3/2013 4:31AM

  thanks for the post

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CARTOONB 2/2/2013 11:51PM

    Well said.

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MOBYCARP 2/2/2013 7:24PM

    Thank you for this blog. Involuntary job loss has been on my mind lately. My job is as secure as it has been for the past decade or so, but the way of the world now is such that I expect my career to end in layoff rather than in planned retirement.

I won't be my fault.
Suffering will be optional.
I need to be still, and look for what God intends.

Good thoughts to keep in mind for when/if the layoff happens.

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HDHAWK 2/2/2013 6:30PM

    Good meditation and one we need to be reminded of. It's so hard to see when you're in the middle of a situation.

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AJDOVER1 2/2/2013 6:27PM

    I appreciate this so much, John. Change is so hard to bear sometimes, especially when it comes as a shock. Job losses affect whole families and it's difficult to step back and see God's plan amid the chaos.

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GEEMAWEST 2/2/2013 5:35PM

    You are such a wise man and I thank God that you are in my life!

Thanks for being you.

Love and Hugs emoticon

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NEEDBU66 2/2/2013 4:38PM

    Bad bad bad economy.

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ANATASHIKI 2/2/2013 12:48PM

    it never happened to me, but after winning the contest for my actual job, in a country where many of these contests are sold or at least tampered with, I realized that all the 11 years of med school and residency I was preparing for not having a job and having to quit and do something else. I try to remember that and how lucky I am to have a job in a small town in these times. even if it's not stellar. I confess my gratitude needs working on it emoticon

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VICKI-BISHOP56 2/2/2013 10:29AM

  My son just lost his job too and only because the owners wife decided she wanted that position so since she couldn't do it as long as Chris had it, he had to go. But he's got interviews lined up for a new job and he tells me he'll be fine. So I have to accept that and leave it in God's hands. emoticon

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DEBRITA01 2/2/2013 9:55AM

    ...or when He closes one door, He opens another. If we can be patient we discover the plan He has for us. Good blog, John. emoticon

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REGILIEH 2/2/2013 9:45AM

    So beautifully said! What is that saying, when a door closes a window opens, something like that. I hope that person who lost their job will claim that it will be a good thing and he/she will get a better job! I'm believing it for them.

John, you ALWAYS know exactly what to say and how to say it! What a gift you have been given and what a gift we have been given in getting to read your words.

emoticon emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 2/2/2013 9:17AM

    "Quite often the pain and anxiety we feel over a life situation is simply God clearing a path for our success."

- that's a great quote, John. Thank you!

I'll let you know when I get to the 'success' part.

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PATTILYNN224 2/2/2013 9:11AM

    Been there as well. Just know it does get better.

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BLUEROSE73 2/2/2013 9:06AM

    Been there. It really sucks. My prayers are with your friend to find the new path that is out there somewhere for them

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