On Restoration and Wholesomeness

Constance, I recently read something online that perturbed me greatly.

“I firmly believe what someone in one of the posts above has said- a human being can never be wholesome again after an experience of this sort. My grandfather, a resilient, hard-working man who faced adversity and difficult migrations more times than most, was never truly whole; he was bitter, angry, mad. He succeeded in life by cheating and deceiving others much like what had been done to him. He was not a caring husband or father and left many questions unanswered. I sometimes wonder if one can really cleanse oneself of evil. In the words of Primo Levi’s ‘Shema’…

Consider that such horrors have been:
I commend these words to you.
Engrave them in your hearts
when you lounge in your house,
when you walk outside,
when you go to bed,
when you rise.
Repeat them to your children,
or may your house crumble
and disease render you helpless
so that even your offspring avert their faces from you.”

WOW…powerful writing, no?  Moving, rending in the soul…tumblr_nlfdl6quMU1rel1ijo1_540

…and yet.  And yet…REALLY?

Is it true that one can never be whole after an experience of this sort?  A person was bitter, angry, mad, and “succeeded” in life by doing to others what was done to him.

Here is what is disturbing:  what this person chose to do, based on what happened, is the root of the bitterness, anger and madness.

There is never a point where we cease to be culpable for what we choose…because we are always choosers.

Otherwise, explain to me how other human beings who suffered identical horrors and worse emerged and became whole again and wholesome in life…Victor Frankl, Corrie Ten Boom are two that come to mind.

You are not in control of what happens to you…you are in control of how you choose to happen in return to it!tumblr_mxg4a0SSTf1shqs68o1_500

Otherwise, here is your alternative:

At what point do you cease to be responsible?  Like for instance, you are beaten up in the body, but not hit in the face…are you culpable for what you choose, or are you now not responsible, being beyond the pale of wholesomeness?

If you suffer the loss of a parent but not a child, does that make you not responsible?  Or more responsible?

It’s a sliding scale and no one knows where to draw the line…because the fact is there is no line!

There is only you…and your choice in who you want to be, live to be.

I am gonna tell you sumfin:  no one can sully me by doing evil to me.  Oh, they can beat me, they can rape me, they can hurt me with words…but I am a strong tower inviolate, so long as I know that I am a chooser and this is mine forever.

A diamond covered in bull shit does not cease to be a diamond…and a person buried in horror can still choose to be shining and human.tumblr_nmhqwiXuLT1rebxsto1_1280

Do not seduce yourself with some rinky dinky scale of wrong, and pick a point somewhere on it that says “on this side of the scale, I am responsible, but because of these other things, I am no longer responsible because I cannot ever cleanse myself of evil”…

…cleanse yourself, no…but be cleansed?  Yes.

Are we not humans?  Are we not free?  Even midst the horrors shall we sing of our love.

Charissa

PS:  My dear Dani over at Blooming Spiders writes an article about a person who experienced lots of hard and horrible things, and what happened as a result of choices:  made and unmade.  Go check her out…you won’t be sorry!

❤ you, DDH!!tumblr_nmynbt9rGm1u19ezpo1_400

 

Apologies, Real and Otherwise

Have you ever had someone give you a “faux-apology”?  You know the ones…

Here is a lil list:

1.  Any apology that says “I am sorry that you…”
Um, no.  You do not get to be sorry for anything “me”…you are either sorry for something “you”, or you are not sorry.  Don’t hide behind the words “I’m Sorry” to issue another attempt at policing me in some form or fashion.

2.  Any apology that starts out with “I’m sorry if…”
Naawww…nope.  Nada.  Not going there, doesn’t work, and you cannot say that to me.  You are not sorry nor do you have cognizance of what you did.  You just know that I am hurt and want me to stop being so in order for you to feel good about yourself again.

3.  Any apology for lack of clarity over what was said when the true offense was the actual saying in the first place.  If someone says something hurtful, and then apologizes because they were not more clear in how they said whatever hurt they said?  No…not.  Not an apology.

4.  Any apology that contains some sort of implication that they are sorry they were not more available so you could approach them and repent to them.  Um…yeah, no.

Here is how you do it.

“Dear One…what I said, what I did, what I thought (fill in the blank) in that it broke our relationship (or damaged it or harmed it) was wrong (inappropriate, hurtful, immoral, etc).  I have wronged you and hurt you, and I can clearly see that I bear responsibility in this.

“I am so sorry.

“These words carry no power in and of themselves until I fill them with life as I demonstrate true remorse by living (speaking, thinking, acting) differently from now on, and treating every other person I meet differently as a result of this.

“You are free to act as you feel the need, and it is my hope that someday I will have opportunity to work together with you to rebuild things (trust, fidelity, integrity, understanding, etc).  But I do realize this is not mine to demand, but yours to give as you choose.

“I deserve no props or cudos for this, and God deliver me from getting what I deserve.

“My heart is hurting at my failure in this, and I will let this pain make me a better person, and the doors will be open to you if you choose to offer me forgiveness and grace.  Until that time, I remain committed to change and to you.”

Now…I wrote out a bunch of words, to convey the attitude of an apology that does not obligate or demand.

It is of course a two way street.  Rare are the relational ruptures that do not involve wrong on each side.

But you are not about pointing out to someone else how they hurt you if you are there to apologise to them, now are you?  You are there because you see that you failed and fell short…right?

No?  Hmmm…better go review the numbers up at the top of the post!

Charissa
tumblr_novk9pHRjt1skx4kno1_1280

The Greater Danger

Constance, in this ego-centric, ego-driven culture of ours we are constantly exhorted and affirmed for avoiding any people who are costly to us, disturbing to our comfort, or in any way disrupt our “perfect life” which will be immediately great as soon as we get rid of anyone who does not contribute value to us.

Omg.

And who would befriend you, should this be applied rigorously?

So…the truth is that yes, we do need to be shrewd who we allow full heart access, and yet somehow we must remain accessible!  So there is a greater danger than merely having a toxic person in proximity to you…

…and that is the danger of NOT being the broken bread and poured wine into the hearts and souls of those suffering and for whom you were appointed as meat and drink.

Queen Ester of Old was told:  For such a time as this were you born.

Be mindful of others, and your responsibility to them, even as you practice the saying below.  After all, it is because your space is sacred that you must

Be careful whom you exclude

Blast From The Past

Suffragette of Sight

This is for new friends, and serves as a key of sorts to my poetic ledgermain, or a glossary to my poetic language and misdirection.  Remember, if you want to know…what I think, feel, who I am…you can, but you do not get to just go to the McDonalds of relationship and place an order and expect fast food to be schlepped out to you.

Oh no.

It is far more like going to the Farmer’s market with a previously made dish in hand…and nibbling a bit and thinking about what you taste, and then tentatively beginning to gather vegetables and herbs that match what you taste…or even taste complementary.

Then you bring them home and make the dish.

Here is the fun stuff:  if you are paying attention, then you will begin to have that “AHA” flash of insight earlier and earlier…you will realize, for instance, in the poem This Shocking Interruption that I draw a parallel between Simon of Cyrene, a black man who was waylaid and forced to carry the cross of Christ on Good Friday the first and transgender people who are waylaid and forced to carry a gender cross and be crucified for the pride and passion of the Patriarchy…

…it will be evident immediately.

If you are not paying attention, or understanding the flow of the posts and the intentionality of Grace Notes from day to day and month to month, well, you will scratch your head a bit, and likely admire a few lines or stanzas that really stood out, and the smack your lips thinking yummerly and move on to the next tidbit for consumption.

Poetry is a bit more than that…it is more Jack and the Beanstalk than The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly.

I hope you enjoy the older works, and they are there for the perusing.

HINT:  if it takes forever to get to the back of the blog, please note there is a calendar at the foot of the blog that is hyperlinked to month and day…and a Poetry Link at the top in the Header…

Blessings to you, Constance, and nods over to you Reader…still there lurking, looking for things to judge with the eyes of Pilate and touching these posts with hands washed of the mess.

Charissatumblr_np21afKStJ1r0p4g7o1_1280