Forgiveness

Today’s piece was birthed from a short string of correspondence that I had with my beloved. Though emotionally and physically estranged from one another, we have maintained communication. And as a result, I haven’t completely been able to move forward because my heart longs for this man who made the decision that we should split. That being said, I wanted clarity. I know from the past that unanswered questions have the potential to drive me crazy, so I wanted to ward off a return to entertaining old strongholds. Nevertheless, in asking questions, I have also learned that we may not receive the answer we hoped to hear. So here is the message I sent to him just yesterday. Mind you, I prayed that God would help me accept whatever response was returned, and to move forward in peace and love.

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While it wasn’t exactly the response I was hoping for, it wasn’t a “no”. At the present moment I am not sure that the “maybe” I received has brought me solace or more confusion. At any rate, what latched onto my spirit was my beloved’s statement, “I just need time to heal and clear my head so maybe one day I can forgive”. Forgive.

Forgiveness seems so very simple in theory, but the reality of the action can seem insurmountable for many. I heard somewhere that forgiveness isn’t for the other person (the one who “wronged” us), but forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. I agree with this logic because when we harbor feelings of unforgiveness, it is only stunting our growth and development. All too often those we feel have done us wrong may have no idea that what they said and/or did impacted us in such a profound way as to leave us crippled or damaged emotionally and/or psychologically. Words, which have the power to uplift or destroy, have lasting conscious and subconscious effects on our psyche.

As part of my healing process, I have immersed myself in the music of India Arie, a kindred spirit. Ironically enough, the lyrics to India Arie’s “The Heart of the Matter” rose with me this morning.

I got a call today, I didn’t wanna hear/but I knew that it would come/An old true friend of ours was talkin’ on the phone/She said you found someone/And I thought of all the bad luck,/And all the struggles we went through/How I lost me and you lost you/What are all these voices outside love’s open door/Make us throw off our contentment/And beg for something more?

I’ve been learning to live without you now/But I miss you sometimes/The more I know, the less I understand/All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning them again/I’ve been tryin’ 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 forgiveness/Forgiveness/Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore…

These lines capture the Sound Track of My Life. On the heels of healing from this recent break up, I do find myself missing my beloved sometimes. My thoughts are oftentimes scattered. My will to remain positive does often get weak. And I know with all certainty that forgiveness is at the heart of this matter of brokenness.

After I listened to the song a couple more times I sent the link of a live performance to my beloved. I’m not sure he understood where I was coming from, but I’ve recently decided that I won’t take anything personally. And that includes the lack of response. Afterwards, I went in search of scripture on the topic of forgiveness. Below are those that resonated with my spirit.

Forgiveness Scriptures

Matthew 6: 14-15 (MSG)

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”

Mark 11: 25 (MSG)

“If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (MSG)

“We certainly don’t look at him [people] that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!”

Isaiah 43: 25 (Amplified)

“I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

Daniel 9: 9 (MSG)

“Compassion is our only hope…”

If we work with the logic that forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, then Matthew 6: 14-15 proves that unforgiveness leaves us at a deficit with God—making it impossible for Him to send us the healing that will propel us to our “next level” experience.

Likewise, Mark 11:25 is also proof that we cannot receive forgiveness of our wrongdoings if we haven’t in fact forgiven others.

In the case of 2 Corinthians 5: 17 God is calling us to relinquish our view of the “old man” who “wronged” us. He is calling us to see each other with new eyes. When I woke this morning the following prayer sprang from spirit, out of my mouth, and onto the pages of my notebook/journal:

Lord, help us to see ourselves as you see us. All too often when we look in the mirror the image we see is untrue. We see a fragmented, broken, incapable, unlovable person because of what has been said and/or done to us. But God, give us new eyes that allow us to see our [and other’s] truth—who we are through your eyes.

When we consider Isaiah 43: 25 we find the absolute TRUTH about forgiveness. God himself “blots out and cancels” the remembrance of our wrongdoing(s). And it isn’t for our sake because He says, “…for My own sake…” There you have it right there. Forgiving others is truly something we do for ourselves–for our healing, growth, and spiritual development.

And finally, in Daniel 9: 9 we find the simple solution to the “woes” of humanity, compassion. When we express compassion for our fellow man we are doing what God sent us here to do, love one another as He loves us. When we are able to extend compassion for another person we are essentially freeing ourselves from the bondages that would otherwise keep us from the greater life God has prepared for us. Compassion is a gift, like forgiveness, that we give to ourselves and to others.

beloved 3.0

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Manhood MMS

Author’s Note:  What follows is the first installment of what will be a weekly fiction piece I’ve chosen to title The Misadventures of Sister Girl.  Truth be told, I haven’t dabbled in writing fiction since my senior writing project at Denison University (’98).  But one of my current students inspired me to “pick up my pen” and write.  So here I am, returning to my first love: fiction.  I am not completely certain how Sister Girl’s story will unfold, but I am definitely having a great time developing characters, conflict(s), and dialogue.  I hope you enjoy this piece and those that follow.  If you have suggestions for plot development or anything else, please drop me a line.  And, as always, happy reading!

from The Misadventures of Sister Girl: “Manhood MMS”

You Sleep?

The next morning I awoke to the image of his manhood staring me in my face–literally.  If I’d acknowledged that as I sign, I may not be in my current predicament.  The joker who sent me a pic of his manhood doesn’t call me; he texts me and calls it “talking”.  He’s delusional.  And so am I for that matter—at least to a degree.

My apologies.  I should introduce myself.  My name is Olivia, Olivia Washington.  Most of my friends call me Liv however.  Liv—the irony.  I’m a living, breathing, walking, talking irony.  I’ll let you keep reading to determine if my irony is situational or dramatic.  Live.  I suppose you could call what I do live.  I like to think that I live to the beat of my own drum.  I’m not much concerned with how others view me—at least that hasn’t been the case as of late.  I make attempts to live my life in a way that pleases me.  And then there are those moments when I seem to just be existing—accepting the crumbs from the Master’s table instead of demanding a full plate.  And therein lies my dilemma.  My mother probably wouldn’t approve of the myriad of things I’ve seen and done, but I’m living for me and not her.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my mother.  She is the strongest woman I know.  Really.  Any woman who can stand tall after her husband of twenty years walks out on her is a lioness.  She is my SHERO!  But she is old school and I’m what you might call new school.  But enough about that.  Let’s get back to this business of texting and the manhood MMS.

Like I said, I should have acknowledged that MMS as a sign.  No, it wasn’t a sign that the stars had aligned and I had found my sexual equal.  It was a red, hot, shiny STOP sign!  But I wasn’t thinking stop when I saw it.  I was thinking . . . yes, you know damn well what I was thinking.  Any virile single woman with half a brain was thinking what I was thinking.  Yep, that’s exactly what I was thinking.  And the look on my face said it all.  It’s a good thing no one was around to see me lick my lips, bite down on my lower lip, and shake my head from side to side.  Because that is exactly what I did.  What I needed was for someone to shake the shit out of me—not literally—but figuratively shake some sense into/out of me because after I looked at that image long enough I had lost all sense of reality.  And I’m pretty sure you know exactly what transpired after I took a long (pun intended) look at his manhood—yes, that’s exactly what happened.  But before we get to that, I’ve got to tell you how this Joker, Mr. Manhood (Davis Reed), and I came to be acquainted.

Davis and I grew up orbiting each others social satellites.  It just so happens that we grew up in the same small town, but never had the pleasure of being anything other than acquaintances in our younger days.  I dated friends of his which only allowed us to come into contact for instances of small talk over the years.  But it wasn’t until we found out that we lived in the same city, over 2,000 miles from home, that our paths crossed again—nearly fifteen years later.

Despite the fact that I believe social media platforms (one in particular) are the spawn of Satan, one in particular has at times been beneficial for communicative purposes.  In the case of my reconnecting with Davis Reed, this one platform had a redemptive moment.

Davis Reed:                                                         6/16, 10:22pm

How have you been Liv?

Liv Washington:                                               6/16, 10:23pm

I could complain, but I won’t right now.

Davis Reed:                                                       6/16, 10:26pm

True dat.  So when are we gonna finally hang out?

Liv Washington:                                              6/16, 10:31pm

IDK.  Call me sometime and we’ll figure it out.  555-555-5555

Davis Reed:                                                               6/16, 10:33pm

I will.  Thanks.  BTW, here is my number 111-111-1111

I figured we would do our regular song and dance and I wouldn’t hear from him until he caught me online again.  I’m really not sure why I gave him my number anyway.  I had no intention of seeing him.  After all, he and his buddies had probably already talked “shop” about my high school misadventures, and that was reason enough for me to evade him to infinity.  But I underestimated Davis.  I had hoped he’d forget about me and my phone number.  He didn’t.

Liv, why haven’t I seen you yet?

Sorry Charlie!

I suck at keeping in touch—

among other things.  LOL

I shouldn’t have gone there.  But I’m a work in progress.  Living at an emotional low during the transmission of his text, I was in need of some attention, any attention.  I baited him, just like he would later bait me with that Manhood MMS.

I’m waiting.

How can I make it up to you Mr. Reed?

Meet me for lunch.

Okay.  Pick a day.

Now.

But it’s not lunchtime.

It’s ten at night.

It’s lunch somewhere.

LOL.  Good point.

I’m already in my pajamas though.

Perfect.

Ha!

You’re cute.

I know.

Yes.

We’ve already established that.

Seriously though.  How about tomorrow?

I suppose I can wait another day.

You’ve only blown me off for the past four years.

 

I haven’t begun to blow you off; I can show you better than I can tell you. 

Ouch!  That hurt.

You throwing jabs already?

Not fair.

My bad.  I heard you liked it rough.

What does he know?  What has he heard from his buddies?

 

Really?

I don’t know where your “intelligence” is coming from,

but that is only partially true.

LOL

LMAO.

You ain’t changed a bit.

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

The texting back and forth persisted well into the night.  Not once did he take the initiative to call, but I didn’t press the issue either.  I kept right on texting . . . until I fell asleep.

You sleep?

The next morning . . .

Does President Obama know about your WMD?

LOL

LMAO.  Umm . . . no.

Just saying.

That’s a nice piece of equipment you’re working with.