Tag Archives: Catholic

Filet-O-Fish Fridays

27 Mar

Well, people, it’s that time of year again. For Catholics it’s the time when you quit drinking soda (or whatever it is that you choose to give up), for those of you who are not, it’s the season where McDonalds offers specials on Filet-O-Fish sandwiches on Fridays. (Hint: it’s Lent) It’s a time for reflection, sacrifice and repentance.

In light of all this reflection, I’ve decided to take a moment to chat about something that I’ve been reflecting upon for quite some time. It’s something that I never really realized I was confused about, but it turns out I was.

Forgive and forget people always say. I say, “what the f*ck?” For so long, I withheld forgiveness because I always figured that it wasn’t true forgiveness unless it was something I was indeed able to forget. How am I supposed to forgive someone who hurt me so deeply that I still feel pain just thinking about it? Am I right?

I don’t want to be that person (we’ve all met at least one) who’s been hurt by someone and their anger and resentment paints every conversation and echoes in their actions. I don’t want to fill up with so much negativity that causes anger to spill out of my pores. I want to live my life with love, compassion and understanding. I want to forgive those who have done me wrong. But I need serious help.

I had an epiphany a few weeks ago. If you’ve read some of my early posts, you may know that there are a few people in my life that I’ve been seriously emotionally wounded by, one of them being myself. For a long time I harbored serious hatred for these individuals. But, while sitting in a class, listening to Father Barry talking about the sacraments and Reconciliation, I realized, I forgive these people. Well, in my head it was more like, “I think I forgive these people.” The reason I said think is because I was still not sure if it could be true forgiveness, since I still don’t think these people are model citizens, nor would I go out of my way to forge a relationship with them. So, I went to confession (by the way, from someone who NEVER agreed with the concept of confession, it turns out that this is frickin’ amazingly helpful and freeing). At the end, I decided to run my ideas about forgiveness past the priest and ask about his thoughts on the matter.

It turns out, forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting. So just forget about that. (Ha, see what I did there?) His exact words (more or less, anyway) were, “It’s like a tug-of-war game. You feel all these negative emotions and that’s the tugging back and forth. Forgiveness is letting go of the rope”. Instead of continuing with the struggle of anger, you just walk away. Not that you’re forgetting the struggle, but you aren’t spending your life dwelling on it anymore.

As another illustration, during mass, a different priest explained forgiveness like an open wound. Imagine someone emotionally hurting you as causing a cut that breaks the skin. It bleeds. It scabs (forgiveness). You pick the scab (because what else would you do with a scab?). It bleeds some more (remembering the hurt). Each time that scab comes off, that cut gets smaller and smaller. Eventually, all you have is a scar. So yes, someone can cause some serious damage. Yes, thinking and talking about it can open that wound up again. But little by little, it’ll scab over and eventually heal…but you still have that scar as a reminder. Forgiveness is not something that’s done just once. It’s done repeatedly, and as it is done, it becomes easier to continue. Eventually all we have is that little scar that reminds us of what happened, so we can try to protect ourselves from the same thing happening again.

To put it into my own words, forgiveness is about losing the baggage and moving on with your life. Allowing someone’s actions or words to affect your life, how you feel about yourself or even just plain make you angry, is giving them power over your life. Who really deserves that kind of power? You do. God does. But that’s about it.  You want the key to inner peace and total happiness? Take your power back. Forgive those knuckle heads and keep it in the rear-view. Forgiveness is also a gift you give to yourself as well as to the offenders, so give it a shot. You deserve it.

So there you go, three different explanations…hopefully one of them will resonate with you. Let me know what your thoughts are on this topic.

Also, let the record show, I have given up drinking soda (I’m addicted), and eating cereal (I’m also addicted)…and I am doing well.

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So Fresh and So Fresh and So Clean Clean….(ain’t nobody as dope as me)

4 Apr

I know it’s Wednesday and you all must be wondering where this week’s Wreck is. Well, I’m interrupting my previously scheduled Wreck in celebration of a very special occasion.

It happens to be Lent. It is the commemoration of the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert, being tempted by Satan. For us, it is the season of sacrifice, charity, fasting, atonement and forgiveness. Lent gives us a fresh start, spiritually, and is the foundation for positive growth. “Cleaning” and “de-cluttering” the soul and spirit is not always easy. It can be painful, confronting your past transgressions and mistakes. Airing out those skeletons can come with consequences. There are times that even with forgiveness, relationships cannot be saved once the truth is brought to light. I think this is one of the hardest parts of the season. I also know, however, that without this season of atonement and forgiveness, we cannot grow and become the happy people that we are meant to be.

I’ve thought for a long time that life has a funny way of placing things, situations or people in your path at the exact moment you need them. Whether it’s an opportunity to exercise your ability to forgive, or to love, or maybe it’s an opportunity to understand what it really means to have faith and perseverance–it’s a message meant to help you grow. The reason I mention this is because I’ve just been reading a manuscript for a book called Through the Eyes of Another by Karen Noe. I will be posting a review for the book in the coming weeks, but for now, the premise of the book is to receive your “Life Review” before making your transition from this world to the next  (or whatever you believe lies after life) by writing letters. Though the topic might seem strange and arbitrary, it turned out to be a very inspiring book. It encourages the reader to write letters to various family and  loved ones, telling them why and how much you care about them, and acknowledge the things that you are sorry about, ways you’ve hurt them or caused pain. The next part is apologizing for the things that you’ve done. The purpose of these letters, more than anything are meant for emotional and spiritual healing. In my opinion, I can’t think of anything better that could have been put in my path to bring my attention to the fact that, while I have not had soda like I promised on Ash Wednesday, I have kind of neglected the whole contrition and atonement part of Lent.

Deep down, we all know deep down that these letters do need to be written or these conversations need to be had. We don’t reach out to those we love and those who love us to tell them how much they mean to us. We don’t tell people enough that we are blessed to have them in our lives. We don’t see clearly how our actions have caused hurt or pain in other lives. We certainly don’t always apologize for causing that hurt. God has given us this season as an opportunity to become better people, to be a little more like his Son. It’s not about Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday,  Easter Sunday, hardboiled eggs or even delicious ham. It’s about His only Son sacrificing his own purely innocent life for us sinners to have life eternal. All that’s requested of us is to live our lives with love, humility, honesty. He doesn’t even care that we all commit sins daily. Contrition and repentance is the key. Doesn’t sound like such a hard thing to do. Right?

Tomorrow isn’t going to be a better day to let those people in your life know that you love them. Next week could very well be too late to make amends with that friend you’ve neglected. Today is the day. Make it one that your Father can be proud of.