Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Forgiveness - 4 - Toby D. Sanders

"Forgiveness and Truth The fourth aspect or challenge of forgiveness is its relationship with the truth, with which it shares a complex and terrifying essence. In order to forgive and be forgiven we must have the courage to face the truth, to tell the truth to ourselves and eventually to others. But a part of the reason that we are hurt in the first place or have hurt someone from whom we need forgiveness is because “we cannot handle the truth.” We cannot easily face the truth about ourselves, about others about almost anything. As beautiful as the truth might be conceptually, it is deeply terrifying in reality. When we see the truth or understand it or are in its presence we feel mostly judged and guilty, convicted. When the “truth” of the most painful and wicked offenses against us threatens to rip our very souls from our bodies we are so angry and devastated by God’s own “permissive will” that we flee from it to survive it. The brutality of truth is not our friend. And the ingenuity of our anxieties, the genius of our fantasies and games, the whiteness of the lies we depend on to survive psychic assaults, is to be here commended as a minor grace for those who suffer creatively, internalizing, re-imagining and playing to survive the horrorism of the truth. The truth of the truth, the core of the matter is that we need insulation from its light and fire often. The truth of the truth and forgiveness is that we lie to ourselves and others for good reasons sometimes. That there is an utter and shameful arrogance in those who unchastenedly celebrate the truth as a cure-all. The truth of the truth is that it is not always best literally understood, which is to say, that there is often more truth in the fictions we tell ourselves and others because these things express our desires more accurately than they express our sins. The truth is that sometimes a lie reveals more about us than a shallow and comfortable, palatable truth. The truth is that there are things about us so fragile, so private that they cannot bear the light of the brutal judgements of others, even those we love, as a second offense, a second brutality. We should not be sentenced to shame for our trust and sometimes ellipsis is best for a season. Time is again a pivotal factor and grace here. Those who love us and those that we love should be able to patiently bear the truth as it emerges in its season. A real key to forgiveness is this reality. Often we are not ready or mature enough to face the truth about ourselves “graciously.” We oft too harshly compare and judge even ourselves. Our souls know when we can bear the light of God’s love maturely. The truth, like forgiveness, emerges and grows. It is dynamic. It is life-affirming. it is spiritual. It is not relative in a shallow dishonest and cowardly sense. But it relates to the perspective of our understanding at particular times, seasons, points of maturity. The truth is of infinite value and it is both a means and an end to a better life. The irony is that many of our fictions and lies and evasions tell a truth about us. Forgiveness requires that we seek this light. It requires that we strive to be honest with ourselves first and foremost, to forgive and be forgiven we must in due season stand and sing in the sun of this grace. This requires discernment and trust as a reasonable currency of love. We should not be bound by the demands of the purist, especially one who has not faced his own lies and self-deception and seeks only the power of your contrition or the delicious spectacle of your re-lived misery as catharsis for his own sins. There is an absolutely “pornographic and vicarious” property to much truth-mongering judgmentalism. The truth is that we can only truly forgive the truth. The truth is that to be forgiven a lie or a half-truth is of limited value. The truth is that what we have done that is wrong or what we have suffered at the hands of broken others is just part of the story. The truth is that there may be in this life no full answers sometimes; but, forgiveness need not be partial. The truth, like love, faith and forgiveness is a disposition, an attitude toward reality. There is logic in the truth, but more art in loving and forgiving it. One of the hardest things about forgiving is that the truth of it often shatters fantasies and stories and fictions we have about ourselves and those we love and who love us. We must not insist on it unless we are willing and truly ready to sacrifice the comforts of our fictions which are considerable. Indeed we must be grown-grown to handle the relationship between forgiveness and truth. Life is often far easier as a fiction, full of romances and order, promises and wish fulfillment. It is easier to forget, deny, creatively sublimate than to remember and forgive. It is easier to project our brokenness onto others, especially strangers or disposable people than forgive ourselves and do the hard work of rebuilding a life so shattered by the courage of forgiveness. It is easier to rush into an evasion and new forms of busyness that are narcotic and complex but require little thought. These evasions fill time with the lightness of efficiencies and effectiveness, the illusions of progress and the shallow praise that goes with them. Easier this than to take the time to deal with the grief of failure and loss maturely. And it is easier, far easier to accept a shallow and immediate apology based on a half-truth and a desperate desire to maintain a fictive status quo than to wait and cultivate deep forgiveness and the shattering truths that attends its wake. Forgiveness like love and faith and truth is a choice, a courage to see and be transformed by the holy. To forgive we must be mature enough to handle the truth."

October 15, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Twenty Pounds

Seems to me that doctors have a "fallback" diagnosis. No matter what is wrong with you, they say lose weight. More specifically they say 'lose twenty pounds'. Yes that's right... TWENTY pounds.

Doctor - (while writing...excuse me...typing in my chart) - How about we lose twenty pounds and then we can discuss -changing/eliminating that new medication.

Me - what do you mean "we"? (to myself ... yes of course!  to  myself!)

Now let me just say, I'm annoyed. 'Cause ...well ...see... that's what the doctor told me during a different visit for a different reason... 
T W E N T Y pounds ago!               and twenty pounds before that              and twenty pounds before that!

So seriously, what is going on? 'Cause I'm thinking there's few things I wouldn't give to "fall back" to the size I was then...then as in any one of those times when the doctor wanted me to lose twenty pounds!

Yes. Seriously. What I wouldn't give to be any of those sizes now.   (sigh)

(yes, one large, twenty pound, sigh)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Forgivenes -3 - Toby D. Sanders

"Forgiveness and Time. The third key element or aspect of forgiveness is time. If remembering is the hardest and forgiving one's self is the first order of forgiveness and its graces, then time is the very substance of forgiveness. In a real sense time, is what forgiveness is made of, how it is measured, how it grows, how it is felt and experienced in our minds and souls. When we are brokenhearted, guilty, ashamed, angry and broken in spirit every moment is heavy, almost unbearable. Every breath weighs on us. We lose time. We waste time. We can barely bear time. Life is a sentence. My own brokenness makes this the worst part of forgiveness for me. I am too impatience with myself and everyone. Forgiveness is a quality time takes on. Forgiveness, because it is a grace, a spiritual reality participates in what some people call eternity. Eternity is the mysterious quality given time by God. It is not clock time or historical time that moves in one direction. Eternity is an experiencing of time all at once in its fulness. It is an overflowing. When we forgive time itself becomes a gift. In time, what was once painful, even unbearable becomes not just bearable but an important and empowering part of who we are. Not only do we remember, not only do we forgive ourselves but time helps us become enlarged in the same way our heartbroken-ness made us feel small. Forgiveness changes the meaning of time. Forgiveness changes the meaning of time. Forgiveness is a path, a journey, a way to wholeness. It is a grace. Time is a spiritual gift that actually carries us. Forgiveness in time is like a stream, a river. We think we are walking or climbing but in reality time is carrying us along. Now our paddling matters. We have to try to move in the right direction. We can fall out of our vessel. But, as we strive to move in the right direction, as we give ourselves over to time, She will carry us. If we imagine time as a stream, a river moving toward an ocean, Forgiveness is the water itself, when we are in it we feel it but we are not really aware what is moving it. Staying afloat is nervous work sometimes. But time will take us to the right place, because time itself IS forgiveness. God has already forgiven us and time can help us get to an awareness of that forgiveness. It is not automatic. It requires some work to balance ourselves, some guiding work around obstacles in the stream. It requires forms of trust that are skills. Sometimes it requires just resting on the shore and not doing anything...sabbath rest. Time is the most mysterious aspect of forgiveness and it is different for everyone. But we cannot forgive or be forgiven without it. TIme is the heart of the matter. Because the ultimate purpose of forgiveness is wholeness that will prepare us to use the measure of our talents and gifts inspite of the injuries and brokenness of so much around us. Forgiveness is preparation. Before we can give ourselves fully in our lives we must forgive ourselves and others the injury and pain inherent in our lives. TIme then, is the heart of the matter. In time, You will remember and be whole. You will forgive yourself. You will experience the power of forgiveness to change the meaning of your pain and fulfill your purpose and power. None of this is easy at all. I ask your prayers. I pray for you. I pray with you."

October 13, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Forgiveness - 2 - Toby D. Sanders

"The second hardest thing about forgiveness (and this is no little thing at all) is forgiving yourself for being hurt or vulnerable in the first place. With the things that hurt us most deeply there is this torturous regret that assaults our choice to love and trust in the first place. Of course, this shame-based anguish greatly undermines any hope of whole-ness (Now isn't that what the sincere and desperate desire to forgive and be forgiven is: a hope for whole-ness?) When we find forgiveness most elusive it is often this inability to forgive ourselves that is the primary stumbling block. Ironically we blame ourselves for being hurt and resolve angrily to never be so vulnerable, so ashamed, so alone again. Exacerbating this anguish is the fact that the people who hurt us most deeply are almost always people we love and trust the most, people we are closest to and therefore are not acceptable objects of our legitimate anger and outrage. We are double bound by our broken-heartedness. We must forgive ourselves first. We must properly register responsibility for our pain. If we have hurt ourselves, so be it. We make mistakes but our mistakes are not our identity (this is the lie of shame). If we have been hurt by another, the offense is theirs (And often rooted in their own unresolved unspoken issues). We must forgive ourselves. Every virtue, every good thing requires courage. To be human is to be vulnerable. Forgiveness as an act of grace requires vulnerability. When we are whole we can be vulnerable but not foolish. We can be strong and insistent on the respect and love we deserve. When we forgive we can bear and risk loss in service of whole-ness, love. Forgiveness requires the courage to remember. Forgiveness begins with forgiving ourselves. The pain you feel is NOT your fault. You are forgiven. Take up your mat. Arise. Walk. Love." -

October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Forgiveness - Toby D. Sanders

The hardest part of forgiveness is not forgetting: it is remembering.

This type of memory requires courage and is a grace, that is, a gift of time, a gift of God. Forgiveness is a spiritual virtue which we cannot have or attain unless we are willing, even desperate, to share it. We cannot forgive on demand. Forgiveness is not an act of will. It is an act of grace. It is a healing. It is driven by processes and endowments we did not create but from which we benefit, if we make healthy choices in our most difficult moments. In this way, like love, forgiveness is a choice.

Forgiveness comes at great cost. To forgive we must endure great pain. We must face honestly our hurt and the pain we have caused others. Forgiving is excruciating. Fairness is most often uninvolved. There is nothing fair about grace.

I have a dear friend that is going through various stages of rehabilitation after a severe shoulder injury and operation. She talks to me about pain so honestly, about her...progress that does not seem at all like progress to her. We talk about her fear(s). She helps me see that to heal she must strategically stretch the capacity of her injury to restore the functionality of her vital limb...

Forgiveness comes at great cost.

Our hearts are a most vital limb...

Forgiveness is rehab for our hearts...

And, in time, we may be able to love as much and even more...

In time...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wiser on Wednesday - The Difference

I got up early one morning
and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
and heavier came each task.
"Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered.
God answered, "You didn't ask."
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
but the day toiled on, gray and bleak.
I wondered why God didn't show me.
God said, "But you didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence;
I tried all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
"My child, you didn't knock."
I woke up early this morning,
and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I had to take time to pray.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thoughts and Musings - Anger

Anger is a kaleidoscopic darkness. It is a response to fear both perceived and real: fear of death and the things that lead to it,that feel like it. Hunger, failure, isolation and injury are root fears shaped by our experience of life, in an evolutionary, historical and psychological sense our humanity has been shaped by the darkness of fear.

Anger is not just one emotion but a system of interlocking feelings, emotions and thoughts that constitute one very basic system of our response to anxieties, threats, injuries and losses. These responses form a spectrum of anger from annoyance to rage.

The problem with anger is not that it is inherently bad. Anger is a part of the natural order of life. It is an aspect of the design of life and whether you believe that design to be a wondrous accident of organic and iinorganic elements or imagined and inaugurated by a benevolent creator, the design itself affirms life.

The problem is with how we allow anger to use us. The challenge is In how we achieve the proper balance in our responses to what life brings us, how we deal with the great and powerful gifts of our nature, in other words, it is a spiritual problem.

I am struggling this morning so profoundly troubled, but I know God is with me because there is truth power and beauty in my thoughts. I prayed and this note is god"s gift to us. - Toby D. Sanders
facebook October 6, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wiser on Wednesday - HOPE

Hope has two beautiful daughters - their names are anger and courage;
anger at the way things are;
and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are
St.  Augustine 

Thanks Beth

Monday, October 1, 2012

Thoughts and Musings - Soul Music

I realized something a few days ago that made me smile so hard and warmly, I think think I laughed out loud alone...I was listening to Aretha Franklin and I realized that "soul music" the music of my life, is completely about a kind of courage to love without regret! To say it, to sing it, to moan it. In the way we have sex sometimes when our heartaches, or pray when we are angry with God, get up and do what we must, when we are bone-weary; when we are numb with grief and sadness we tell a joke to ease the despair of a friend because we recognize the difference between being sad and being dead. Soul music is an expression of love without regret: a truth telling. "The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup..."  Toby D. Sanders

facebook - September 28, 2012