Friday, February 23, 2007

Prayer #3: Forgive and Remember

No preamble tonight, Jesus. The temperature is dropping precipitously, and I'm falling asleep at the keyboard.

Prayer #3: Forgive and Remember

Imagine your funeral. What if the priest's eulogy contained nothing specific or glowing -- just the stock 'special and unique child of God whose suffering has ended, and she now sings with the angels' language.

What if no one bothered coming to pay their respects. Worse, what if the people who did attend came out of obligation, not because they really missed or mourned you.

And what if you had driven them all out of your life because of petty disagreements, exacerbated over countless years simply because you refused to forgive them.

I can think of no fate more tragic.

Withholding forgiveness requires far greater energy than granting it. You have to continue fuming, stoke the fire, fan the flames. That takes dedication and meditation. Isn't it easier to let it go as best you can, and see if you have the strength to accept people back into your life?

I don't want to die alone. I don't want to have a small, quiet funeral, where no one has fun or comforting stories to share about my time on earth. You know the maxim: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I pray that never applies to me.

Lord, teach us forgiveness. Give us equal conviction in letting go, as we have in holding on. It's such a short span down here, God. Why waste it on stifling bitterness, regret, and recrimination, when we can experience liberating grace instead?

Be with me at those moments when my heart is hardening, and keep it soft
with this soothing reminder: Forgiving does not mean forgetting. It means remembering whom I serve, and that His gospel is all-consuming love.

Yours to unburden -- Amen.

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