Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Then again

I don't want her to die. What a hateful thing to say. And not what I meant at all.

What I am resenting is that no one in my entire family is willing to confront her except me, and frankly I feel that since I have already told her off, I am no longer obligated. I should get to log off this problem.

Except that I don't, but for a different reason. It is a reason I don't like at all.

The reason is that forgiveness is a problem, and it is not a tiny little irksome fly in the ointment kind of problem. It is a genuine fat ass issue. And thinking about the issue has brought to my attention a certain defect of character that I can no longer avoid confronting.

I suck at forgiveness. For years I just didn't do it at all. People who wronged me got cold and stony irreversible nothing from me forever and ever and ever and ever. I did more than just hold grudges. I completely removed offenders from my life. (This is the reason why so very many of my ex-boyfriends haunt me for years after we break up - often well after they have married other people and had children and the whole show. It is because they hurt me and I shunned them and they feel... like... crap. As they probably should. Oh I am sorry. I am digressing. Let me stop that.

Oh wait just a little more digression. Please note that I still shun people who hurt me and I defend my right to do this because I don't think there is anything in the bible that says you have to let people kick you in the face twice. There is that thing about turning the other cheek but I think whoever put in the bible should have left it out. I hope it wasn't Jesus. Was it Jesus? Ugh).

Back to my story. One fine day, I made a great stride, a breakthrough in the forgiveness area. I was reading a book about the last words of Christ and some incredibly smart person pointed out that there is more than one way to take this one thing that Jesus said. Here is the thing:

"Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

At first glance, this just looks like forgiveness muckity muck. Nothing special. However, if you look carefully at the grammar of the sentence (which is exactly the kind of thing I like to do in my spare time), you will see that the word "for" in this case could be translated as "because". When one reads the sentence as "Forgive them, because they know not what they do" or even closer to today's vernacular "Forgive them, because, seriously, if they knew exactly how bad the thing they are doing right now was, WOW. They would SO not do it." Jesus put things with more elegance, even when in terrible pain. He was... well. Let me just get back to my point.

So I got much better at the business of forgiving because I got to apply the idea that the people who were kicking me in the face simply wouldn't do it if they were aware that they were hurting me so very badly. And so then by that logic, well, of course I could forgive them. No one who knew they were being such a total ass hole would behave in such a way, so obviously they were under the influence of a terrible portion of ignorance - a portion so enormous that I could even feel kind of sorry for the person who kicked me in the face.

So now I can forgive people. Some of them. The ones I can find ignorance or error with, the people whose real intention wasn't to kick me in face.

But her?

She knew. And my dad?

He knew too.

And they both did it anyway and I can't forgive them. And that is likely to be the biggest spiritual problem of my entire life. Good thing I got to it this early. If I live to be 100, I might maybe work it out. But I am not hopeful.

And anyway, is anyone else as sick of this subject as I am? I am so tired of it. I am tired of writing about it and I am sorry for continuing to dwell on it. The fact is, I am mentally better all the time. It just doesn't show here because it's hard to write about being happy or feeling better because everything is fine over here posts are pretty boring and I am pretty sure that is not what you come here for. Is that what you come here for? I don't even know.

Whatever your reason for coming here, thank you for reading.




Anonymous said...

I come here because I like your wit and candor about life. I like how you spin a phrase and I truly enjoy your willingness to let the people who live in your computer see the dark and stormy sides of you. So many people still hide. Even when they're anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I came her by chance. I staied because your wit and because your English is beautiful and your struggle was way too familiar to me.I am still here because i like it and i hope to read some more witty stories non related to her, stories about you moving on with life. I am fine with the dark side of you as long as it does not take over you. F.

Anonymous said...

I came here by chance. I staied because your wit and because your English is beautiful and your struggle was way too familiar to me.I am still here because i like it and i hope to read some more witty stories non related to her, stories about you moving on with life. I am fine with the dark side of you as long as it does not take over you. F.

cajunvegan said...

If you write it, we will come.

Finn said...

I come here because I love the way you write and I think that if we met I'd love you too.

It is what it is when it is. When you've worked through this, you'll write about something else.

I'll still be here.

Amy Giglio said...

Nina, forgiving someone doesn't mean ever having to see them again or liking them. To forgive someone is to say (more than once sometimes), "You did a sucky thing to me. It was bad. But I recognize that you are a child of God (or another human being, or whatever you're comfortable with), and although you ripped my heart out and showed it to me, I recognize your inherent worth and I will let this thing go. I wish that you go with God (or have peace or whatever)."

Jesus says the whole turning the other cheek thing knowing full well that most of us, being only human and not at all divine, that we need his help to do it. To forgive Erika and your dad, you will need God's help.

It sounds like you are already at a place where you can start the process of forgiving them. It will take a long time to feel like you've forgiven them, but the first step is saying, "I forgive Erika and I forgive my dad. And Jesus, help me to keep forgiving them."

As for the pressure from the rest of your family to keep this going, let that go too. You're happier, you've said your piece. If they have a battle to fight, let them fight it. For you to get started again will only send you back into a black, mucky, swirling pool of hate. You really don't want to be there anymore, do you?

I've been reading for more than a year now, I think. I found you from Kate P.'s page.

Kate P said...

(My ears must've been burning.) Nina, you are SO RIGHT that forgiveness is tough. There are some people who have hurt me that, while I do not wish them dead, I do wish they'd disappear. In fact, I'm working on a short story about that very thing. Almost with a hope that while I write it, I'll work something out. . . and possibly make a little money from the deal.

And I agree with commenter F.--your English is beautiful.

Mr. Bingley said...

I'm here for stories about you assaulting people on subway platforms with your boobs.

Mari said...

While I rarely (if ever?) have commented, I continue to read because of your beautiful way of expression. I admire the way you can take simple pictures of the city and draw me in as surely as a major drama does.
I ache for the pain this woman has caused you and yours. Quite selfishly, I use it as a yardstick for my own trials. No pain can truly be compared to anothers', but it's awfully nice to know that I am not alone.
Oh, yes, also... I truly believe that forgiveness can happen *after* such a person is cut out of your life. I, too, hold a grudge like some sort of holy relic - and I won't apologize for it! There is no good reason to allow such a person access to your heart again. Knowingly or not, there was serious damage and that demands restitution of some sort - even if it's only admitting fault and sincerely apologizing. If that can't/doesn't happen, why then would you choose to continue to pursue a relationship? That has never made sense to me.
I applaud your decision to remove yourself from the battle. You've said your piece, she deserves no more of your time.

Dagny said...

I think forgiveness is overrated. But I'm a hateful bitch.


sybil law said...

I'm always the outspoken one, too, and people expect me to get all confrontational on everyone's ass - at some point, you just have to say, "No! I already did it! If you have something to say, then say it yourself!".
Forgiveness is a hard thing to do - but ultimately, it's to relieve ourselves. Weird how it ends up being selfish, huh?! Ha!
Anyway, you're just awesome. I don't care what you write about - I'll come back!

Maggie said...

Regarding the matter at hand, I think it's kind of unfair that your family wants you to confront the bitch. Also, it's bad strategy. You've already confronted her, if you do it again she can just dismiss it as you being "crazy" and a "bad Christian". But if others in the family confront her, that's not you, that's mounting evidence!

I love you happy, I love you sad. You're a good writer with good perspective, so don't worry. As cajunvegan said, if you write it, we will come.

ingrid said...

xoxo to you.

the best thing about forgiveness is that it takes much less effort than hatred.

even forgiveness can entail not seeing the person any more... since its what can allow you to coexist peacefully. at least then, no further conflict continues.

that said, i cannot imagine how hard everything you have gone through is. and how very hard it would be to even entertain forgiveness.

i'm in your corner, regardless. cheering you on. hoping for your peace and happiness.

Joel said...

There is that thing about turning the other cheek but I think whoever put in the bible should have left it out. I hope it wasn't Jesus.

It was Jesus, but I don't think He meant you had to chase people down and thrust your cheek out for them to smite.

In your dad's defense, it's awfully easy for a man to be coerced into hurting other people by his wife (or girlfriend). I've been involved with women who measured my love by how much I was willing to hurt someone else. It's a manipulation tactic and the more decent the man is, the easier it is to do that to him. Men are taught to avoid hurting women at all costs, particularly the woman they love, so when she demands that he passively hurt someone else, he feels like he has no choice. If he tries to stand up to her, he just doesn't love her enough.

Your dad seems to have been a very good man, and not just according to his daughter. (I read his obituary; he appears to have been universally liked and respected.) It would probably have been easy for a woman like Erika to twist him around.j

Catherine said...

I don't 'forgive'; I've given up using that language. I resolve to 'make my own peace' with whatever circumstance, person/party, event, etc., extract what may be valuable from it, try to see an offender & his/her offense in as just a light as possible, and wish that person healing of the gaping wounds in their character. Or something like that. Anyway, I was stymied as to how to 'forgive' someone whom would scoff at such a thing from me, who believed ME to have been the person mainly (or possibly altogether) in the wrong. Finally, I found that it simply couldn't work as it stood, and changed the language. I can't say that it was a total solution, but it works better for me than tussling with 'forgiving'. I don't know, just a thought.