Monday, December 31, 2007

Forgiveness: A Christmas Story

First, let me ask for forgiveness. I went on vacation and didn't say peep! That wasn't fair and I should have said something.

This is the last day of the year and my last post for 2007. It's been an interesting year. A hard one. A joyous one. I've had extreme highs and lows, which although very typical in my life, seems to be smoothing out with only minor dips for my future. I thank God that I made it through this year and that you did too.

I was blessed with having an extremely long vacation and I ended up having some family members come down to visit me in Atlanta.This was the first time anyone from my family had come to visit me in my new home. Scribe and I went all out - as much as we could have considering he was going to be going to New York to see his mother and brother and I was headed to Memphis to see my grandparents tie the knot. My brother, his girlfriend and my paternal Aunt T drove from NY and arrived last Saturday. T and I have always had a strained relationship. Similar to the one my father had with his family. Rigid Dominican values and morays allowed no room for error or addictions. T and I spent many hours talking, hugging, and just drinking in the sight of each other. We are the same height, same body shape, same color, and we have similar faces. I would say other than my Dominican great grandmother, Aunt T is the person I resemble most on this earth. It truly felt amazing to see myself reflected in another person. She told me a lot of family history and I came to learn interesting stories about the other side of my family. My grandparents are rich and vibrant characters, my great grandmother was feisty and head strong and my great great grandmother was a proud Arawak Indian from DR. I needed to hear all of it.

I'm sure T was hesitant about coming. To reconnect with someone after 12 years, and sparked because her brother had died, had to fill her with trepidation. It was a case study in family dysfunctionality. When I saw her face, all anger I felt from these long years of wondering rushed from my body with the invisibility of air. The forgiveness fused through my body and affected my brain immediately. Every fiber in my being shouted with joy. It was a blessed occasion.

I waver in forgiveness and I can admit that. Is there someone out there that I haven't forgiven? Yeah, I sure there are a few, but they performed such horrendous acts that they are not even forgiven by God. I started to realize that I had forgiven myself and others for situations we had been in together, like my exes and their spouses. Nothing from my past has the power to hurt me anymore. Forgiving them and me removed the pain from my heart and made room for more love. More love for the people who really need it.

I love the song "Happy Christmas (The War Is Over)" by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The lyrics are not your typical Christmas carol fodder, instead it makes you examine yourself and what you have done throughout the year.

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

A new year is beginning. Are you going into it with useless baggage? With people and past hurts taking up space in your mind and your heart? Is there a situation that you have been in where you are still angry with someone for what they have done to you? Where you haven't forgiven yourself for being foolish or gullible or naive or too trusting?

Let it go. Forgive yourself and others. Create room in your psyche by throwing out the things that don't matter and make space for things that fill your heart with joy.

And don't just do it because I said so. If you claim to be a Christian, do it because Christ said so.

In Matthew Chapter 18, It speaks of forgiveness and how important it is:

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’
27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’
29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’
30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.
32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’
34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

The parable itself is amazing but when you read Christ's actual answer to Peter it cuts all the more.

7 x 70. 490 times you need to forgive somebody.

I like this verse. I'm reminded of it when I try to hold grudges. I say try because even when I'm mad, I tend to let it go right away. I may rail and moan about how I am through with a person, but it never lasts. I'm at my cousin's house right now, spending the holidays, after exclaiming this summer that I wasn't gonna be cool with her. Everybody in the family knew we had beef. Before long I forgave her and she forgave me and we were able to put stuff behind us and really come together. This was probably the 90th time for me (and probably for her too) so we have plenty more chances to reconcile.

Do yourself a favor in this upcoming year. Forgive somebody. Forgive yourself for something. Forgive some ish. Just do it. Then watch the love grow.

Have a Happy New Year. And remember...

Things Will Be Great In 08!

-Love, DJ Diva

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