Wednesday, June 6, 2012

LIVING YEARS

~ This Song Came on the Radio and it Touched Me. ~



I come in contact with so many people who have been hurt or alienated from a parent, friend or sibling. Often times there can be decades between any type of communication. In my own life, as a survivor of various types of abuse, I close a door in my mind on that person. I guess I got that from my Dad. He was a very "compartmentalized" man. He could seal off emotions, feelings and even memories that he chose to forget. I know now that is probably the worst thing a person can do. We stuff our anger and even hatred so far down inside of us we no longer seem to feel the pain.

That may be true to our conscious mind but it just brews and festers below the surface. We seem fine on the outside, but beneath is festering rot.Then comes a time when you can no longer talk things out. That person is gone and all is left is a nagging sense of shame and guilt for not acting sooner, or if that rot has progressed - you are glad that person has gone.


During these past couple of years it seems that many people I know have died. Maybe it is because I am an old man and my peer group is just getting smaller by attrition. But since I am an old man, I have learned a few things.
There is an interesting story at the beginning of John 8:

John 8:1-11 (MSG)
To Throw The Stone

"Jesus went across to the Mount of Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them. The religion scholars and the Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said,
"Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?"

They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring some charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said,
"The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone."
Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, 
beginning with the oldest.

The woman was left alone.

Jesus stood up and spoke to her,

"Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?"

"No one, Master"

"Neither do I," said Jesus
"Go on your way. From now on, don't sin"

Did you catch those who walked away first? It was the oldest in the crowd. There is something that comes with age - knowing you are not always on the right side. With age, through the lenses of our own personal failures and pain, you realize that life is not as simple as it was in your 20's. In my 20's, 30's and even in my 40's I had all the answers. Now as I approach the sunset of my life, I see the questions I overlooked in my youth.

In my pursuit of the truth I had made the Bible into a rule book that I could use to order my life - and often times, order the lives of others. Now I look at the Bible in its entirety, I see a symphony or a dance that God has created to help us live, love and get along with one another in this world.

I don't know if you noticed they only brought the woman before Jesus. I always thought it took two people to commit adultery. Not to justify adultery, but what were the circumstances? Where was the guy? Was he in the crowd holding a stone? Was she set up to be a pawn? I assume Jesus understood the game that was going on. Many have wondered what he was writing in the dirt, I think he was bored with the entire spectacle and sickened by their religious hypocrisy. I imagine him doodling.

Now back to the topic at hand, Are there people in your life you are angry with? Have you hurt someone? Has someone hurt you? NOW is the time to straighten things out. I have spoken about my Father's abuse of me as a kid. I can also tell you that when my Dad passed away, we were on great terms. It wasn't my great ability to forgive or my compassionate heart. I had been touched by the grace of God. What caused me to do what I did came because I realized how much God had forgiven and accepted me.



My Dad was recovering from prostate surgery. (This is kind of gross) He hadn't had a bowel movement in three days and I was supposed to take him back to the hospital the next day. In the middle of the night the air in our house turned blue as I heard a string of profanity being shouted by my Father. I got up, and let's just say 'The dam broke". He was completely covered with excrement and VERY embarrassed. I pulled him into the bathroom and turned on the shower. I started removing his soiled pajamas, as he kept saying "No! No!" I got him into the shower and cleaned him up. He calmed down and was crying and said,
"After all I have done to you, how can you do this?". I just said, "Because you are my Dad."


From that point on, he was my Dad; we had a good relationship over the next three years until he passed away. I know there must be someone in your life you can reach out to. Whether you were the cause or the recipient - reconciliation is a good thing.


Peace,
~Al