Monday, March 23, 2015

Forgive them.

"We don't do that.  You might try ABC Church in the Garden District.  They might marry you."

I have held those words in my heart, letting them fester, for almost sixteen years.

After Kathe agreed to marry me, and we decided together to do it before I left for 6 months of fieldwork, I asked the Rectoress, Mother G***, if she would marry us.

She looked at me as though I had tracked dog poo into her sanctuary.

I understand the requirement of counseling.  But this woman, who had managed to avoid any interaction with me for the entire year and a half that I had been involved with the church (even when I had sought out contact), decided that she would not help us out.

And that she would be condescending when she told me so.

I was startled.  I had never asked anyone to marry me before.  Well, at least, not like that.  And to get turned down, to be dismissed out of hand, was tough.  And the more I thought about it, the madder I got.

Eventually I found myself white-knuckling my anger through every service.  I loved the choir I was singing in, I loved the people, and the space was just lovely.  But I could not worship, for all of the fury that built in me, each and every time I walked through the door.

I found another choir to sing with.  I found another church.  I have remained married to my wife for fifteen years.  But I have never been able to let that incident go.

Which means I have not forgiven. 

I saw the rectoress at a party I went to a few weeks ago, and she did not recognize me.  We had a nice enough conversation, and I remained pleasant to her throughout.  But she did get uncomfortable, and excused herself (I might be imputing a personal discomfort, where there is only really a result of my inability to engage in small talk) and I realized that I have been giving her control over me. 

For a long time.

I do not hold many grudges.  But those that I do, I hold on for so long, and with such vigilance, that the original offenders would be shocked.  The guy who reached into my car snad slapped me in the high school parking lot.  The woman who cc:ed everyone to complain about the terrible job I was doing.  The guy who upset my wife.

I am letting these people have control over my emotions.  They get to dictate, sight unseen, when I have a temper flare.  They get to destroy a good mood by their continued existence.  The fact that I have never succeeded in 'bringing them to justice' in my own mind, means that I still react whenever I see, hear, or think about them.

That stops today.

Maybe not today.  But it starts stopping today. 

Mother G: you should have talked to me.  Rather than using a canned speech and condescension about something that was of supreme importance to me.

Jerk in the parking lot: you shouldn't have slapped me.  It was humiliating, at a time in my life when I was fighting self esteem issues anyway.

Jerk in my office: you should have talked to me first.  I would have explained the situation, and we could have worked it together, rather than throwing me under the bus.

Guy who was a jerk to my wife: you are a real kneebiter.  The way you treated her was criminal.

With this, I begin the process of forgiving.  I release a little of the anger that I have been keeping.  I start making you human again, instead of giving you supreme executive power over me and what I do.

I forgive you.

I might have to do it tomorrow, too.  And the day after that.

But I'll work on that.


1 comment:

craftypants said...

Congratulations Cloro.
This is a big deal!!
I will start stopping with you.
Cheers to the personal freedom forgiveness will give to us!