112. The Newness of Forgiveness


It’s a gorgeous day here in central Pa. with the snow melting quickly off the south side of my house. Low slung sunlight pours in, reflecting off the snowpack, and my raised rancher luxuriates in it like a cat made of bricks and sticks, if you can imagine such a boxy thing purring contentedly. It’s like that. Only been ten days or so since the first snowfall of this winter and I’m already pulling for spring. A white Christmas and New Year’s Eve, okay. Maybe even a February weekend–snowed in romantically with balsam candles and red wine and…you can fill in the rest. Oh Bloggert! Get your mind out of the gutter!

My industrious wife has been busy decorating and cleaning, which is great. I appreciate  a clean house and getting things done. I scrubbed a few vents and fixed a lamp my self. Not exactly a day in the coal mines, but it will have to do. Ran the open-mouthed shark treadmill for two miles. (You have to make it dramatic or die of boredom running on a stationary revolving belt in your basement.) Actually, I walked a lot of the distance. Still, it all counts in the war against triglycerides, which are triangular shaped pieces of angry sugar in your blood, well, under a microscope that has a poetic lens setting. I fight back with niacin, red yeast rice, and a prescription that I need to pick up at Wal Mart. No sugarcube on a tricycle is going to bury me.

So, what to ponder, dissect, deconstruct? Here’s something. While I was cleaning things in our bathtub, I noticed the drain was slow. I took the cover off the drain, the Swiss cheese strainer thing, and discovered a bunch of slimy gunk and tangled hair. I did what I could with a screwdriver and went to get the Drano. No luck. I passed this computer twice and then thought, ‘ I bet there’s a recipe on-line for home made drain declogger.’ And you know what?  Of course there was. Two parts– one part baking soda and two parts vinegar, in that order. It worked like a seventh grade science project, the kind I never did in junior high. The only issue is the lingering vinegar smell. Better than bleach, I suppose. Intriguing. I wonder what would happen if I put a whole box of baking soda in the pipe and poured a gallon of vinegar in behind it? And lit a match…to a really long fuse so I had time to run out of the house. Why don’t you try this, blog nation, and have your next of kin post the results.

Cleaning your house, filing year end paperwork, losing weight, getting more sleep or exercise, finally divorcing the “Thing”, all resolutions are so robust in early January. Gyms are bursting with slovenly folks trying to undo gluttony’s effects. Others are refinancing their homes or talking with lawyers and counselors and financial planners about their divorce. It’s the urge to purge and renew oneself. Plastic surgeons are booked up. Everyone is after the newness of new, renewal, anew, newly acquired novelty. Infants symbolize this fresh start, and to some degree we want baby skin, innocence, purity of mind and body, and maybe someone to suckle us. Again, Bloggerts, I am warning you with your filthy imaginations to not read between the lines. It’s just white space there.

Having four clearly delineated seasons forces the newness theme. Spring really is news after the long silent sleep of winter. Hibernating animals get this 100 day nap, and they  don’t miss much. When the bear comes out of its den or the groundhog emerges from his hole, they are ready to do life completely. They aren’t looking for a gym or making resolutions  to change. Survival is the top of their priority mountain. I don’t think that they ponder so much as they follow their noses and other senses to continue their existence. Fat is good, more is better.  New? No, I think animals just live in the Now, which is not a bad idea. Living in the Now is to be New every moment. No big plans and little memory beyond instinct. Hmmm, how can humans get some of that eternal nowness? How can we shed the old skin and remain fresh and tender as a baby’s cheek?

Let me offer you some tonic of forgiveness. Rub it all over but especially rub it into your scalp. The balm of forgiveness shreds old grudges, loosening old scaly skin. It allows for fresh new growth to occur within hours of application. It cleans out the garbage in your attic better than baking soda and vinegar cleans your pipes. Out goes the slimy crud ball of greasy residue. Rub it on your chest and breathe easier as fear and worry lift. Life’s water can soon circulate and gurgulate  through your arteries again. Soon your soul’s skin will be silky tender as a baby’s powdered butt.

Maybe your life is not flowing so well and you feel a bit emotionally constipated and sludgy. Maybe the very word FORGIVE gives you the heebie jeebies. Why not take a look with me at your circulatory system. Are you crudded up with anger and bitterness? Perhaps you could take one part repentant humility and two parts active reconciliaction, which is the action of reconciling. Like the vinegar flush in the pipe declogger mix, seeking to repair damaged and broken relationships must be accompanied with actions that push the clog through and reopen relationships. Simple things can then return to their simplicity. You can give again as you once did, unburdened of the emotional weight of guilt and shame. Letting go relaxes the fist of future retribution or current anguish. Cancel the debt of the other as you cancel your own debt. Imbibe this basic concoction, weary blog rats.  And you will find a newness, a renewal of relationships with others and with yourself.  Forgive.

On the other hand you can live beneath the frozen snowpack and hibernate with the creatures who do not repent, forgive, or reconcile…until what? Spring? Moving your unpacked toxic baggage into another season is just going to keep you hostage on a  treadmill. Let go. Why hold on to clogs in your arteries? Because someone owes you an apology or some material repayment? So you choke yourself to force compliance from others. Release your hostages; set the captives free. Have a year of jubilee on me.

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