My List

Ha ha -- no! This is not a post about what I want for Christmas. Well, not my Christmas list, at least. This is about a very different kind of list. The items are more personal than what kind of present I'd like to see under the tree.

Sometimes an uninvited thought passes through my consciousness. Too often for my liking, the thought is tied to an unhappy memory. Maybe I offended someone. Maybe I took offense to what someone else did. In either case, the feelings associated with the remembrance bring me no joy.

I find myself regularly speaking with one of my children about how each person is in charge of his own feelings, and about how each of us needs to do what we can to ensure our happiness, regardless of what others do. While we cannot take away the power of others make an offense, we have all the power over their ability to offend.

And so I work on my list. It is a growing log of offenses of which I'd like to rid myself. First is a list of people from whom I've taken offense. It is followed by the list of those who I feel I might have offended. (I know--it should be the longer of the two lists, right?)

Wait, that doesn't sound like a healthy remedy!

But the list isn't for me to dwell on. In fact, I keep it digitally because it is meant to be transitory--each item existing only long enough for me to take the necessary steps to have it erased, not just from my list, but from my heart. I think that Henry Ward Beecher best expressed my feelings about this:
I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note - torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.
I wish that I could say that my list is continually diminishing, but the best that I can say is that it is changing. In fact, when I opened it just now I had to add something. I continue to forgive and find forgiveness, even as I add items to my list, which is all that can be realistically hoped for during this mortal sojourn. That is the therapy--that I can do something to move out the old items so that I can work on current ones.

So, even though this isn't about my Christmas list, maybe you could do something for you and me this Christmas time--get your own list. (Really. I'm not giving you mine!) Then cross something off. That's my favorite part--it's such a release!

Give forgiveness for yourself.
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."  -Lewis B. Smedes, Forgiveness - The Power to Change the Past
Merry Christmas!


angie said...

What a wonderful post about forgiving and forgetting.

Jeremiah R. Jones said...

I almost forgot. I thought that this post was especially appropriate due to my two previous posts, the one about mean people and the other about Billy. That's two more items to add to my list...

Cami said...

I have rather a problem with this. I cringe at all the stupid things I've done mostly--and I hold a special dark place in my heart for people who have hurt or offended me. Sheesh! I wish I could just let things go.