September 18, 2015 admin

A soft feather

My post from yesterday drew some heart-rending responses.
What about the wounds you can’t forgive, or be forgiven for, because there isn’t anyone to talk to? You look at the other person across a ravine of hurts, but can’t begin a conversation because they simply don’t see the same landscape. ‘It’s your problem’, is all they’ll say. Do you bend to their perception? Do you try to bury your unhappiness by shovelling over it the banalities of every day, or do you walk away? But why, if you do so, does the ache still afflict you, like puss around an irremovable splinter? 
What about the wounds inflicted when just a child? Of course, one isn’t an infant any longer, but the child we once were remains at the heart of us, like the peg-sized figure at the centre of a Russian doll. One grows layers on top, but deep beneath the inside remains as intractably the same as it always was. How are the wounds of what happened back then to be pardoned? A whole life can be injured by the failure to give love to a child, or worse, by implying in words, or acts, or the lack of them, that he or she deserves no love, is just unlovable.
      I was the wrong music / The wrong guest for you
      Summon’d tho’ unwanted, / Hated though true
      I was the wrong music / the wrong guest for you.   Olive Fraser
What of the hurts for which nobody is guilty, except life itself, sod’s law, bad luck, the evil chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or does it make it easier to think of such accidents as God’s doing, Heaven’s will? If so, how do we begin to talk to God about forgiveness? Can I get past the theological cruelty that it’s all some kind of punishment, and find a soft feather from the wings of a God who loves me anyway, even perhaps in and through this suffering? Is God forgivable? Is god really a God of love?
If we don’t try to forgive, or at least let go of some of the pain, what are we then to do about the resentment which is liable to accrue? Nobody wants the small pool inside the heart which should be filled each morning with sweet dew to be turned bitter by drops of bile secreted by angers from which we can find no release.
So, as the Day of Atonement approaches, what does one do?
All I can say is that I have two quotations next to me by which I’d like to be able to live. The first is only three and a half words in Hebrew; it’s in tomorrow’s reading from Hosea: ‘Through You the orphan is comforted’. Only God, only some compassionate invisible presence can reach inside and touch with healing the red sores of the heart. But we can align our lives with that spirit; we can put our words and actions at its disposal. We may not have the magic to smooth away the inner pain which so many lives carry, in such unequal measure. But we can give and care; we can make it known that people are respected and valued, and that what awaits them is not cruelty but kindness and concern, beginning with our family, extending to our community, and not excluding the stranger, the homeless and the refugee.
The second quotation is from Martin Luther King: ‘I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear’.

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