I relaise the above are ‘church’ words. They are more than that, though. They are life words. I remember, ages ago, when Strider was in grade school and the kids were being taught ‘life skills’. Some of the things they were supposed to do included being kind, gentle, patient, and many more. He was surprised that they were learning ‘church’ things in public school. I told him it didn’t matter where he was or what he believed, being kind and compassionate and gentle and forgiving and patient and gracious were all things a person needed to exist as a human.
If you google (where would our world be today without google??) grade school life skill lessons, you find things like a kindness game where you smile at 10 people or tell someone something nice about them and games where you pass along a kindness. In Tillmook, during the month of February, you can participate in an Act in Kindness Day to honor a wonderful family. It truly doesn’t matter who you are to learn to act with generosity and compassion and to be pleasant. I’ve always been drawn to words said by Elwood P. Dowd in the wonderful movie, ‘Harvey’.
Without forgiveness and compassion and love, what is there left to hang on to? I know there is a lot of hate running amok today and in my own background. I had some damn scary dads when I was a kid. I forgave them in my adult years and I’m glad I did. They never knew me as an adult, but those months under their roofs shaped parts of me. A few lessons were a benefit, others not so much. But, I forgave those dads for terrifying the small girl made overly responsible by age 9. Mom was harder to forgive and I’m still angry with her, yet, I know why she was so awful and I can only forgive her and hope to never be like that. I know those dads that drank and beat up mom and whipped my bare bottom bright red were not lovable and perhaps some might think they were unforgivable. Time has softened those memories and I can forgive. I will never ever forget. I am human and humans don’t forget (ok, I have forgotten many things. Usually things like where I parked or put my glasses and what temperature to cook something at after looking at it seconds ago). But, with compassion and forgiveness, those awful things are in the past and I can move on. I am not going to keep those horrid memories alive to haunt me and hurt me even now. I’m glad those dads are not in my life anymore, I’m thankful I’m not a woman who grew up in households of such fear. But, I can see how alcohol made them the way they were. There is probably more, but drinking is what I recall most as a little.
Two dear friends helped me see how (and it is a long story, so this is just the gleanings from their care for me) not forgiving can be born of anger and hurt and of fear. A young friend of mine shared some of her thoughts on forgiveness that made little sense to me, so I asked two others for assistance. They were a lovely help. This post was born of their help. (thank you, Rhapsody and RLS!)
Like the word snow in Alaskan native tongues, there are many kinds of love. I tend to focus on a few Greek words Eros and Agape and Storge. Philia is one I know, but don’t talk about as often as sex, friends, and family. I went to a Bible college, so Greek is my natural point of view. I have grown beyond Greek and see many more now. However, those loves all harken back to life skills. Skills we should use and practice every day.
Forgiveness, compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, graciousness, sharing, respecting, giving, responsibility, honesty, and friendship.