I Forgive You

12 11 2012

ImageYesterday I was in the yard leaf blowing the last of fallen leaves.  As anyone who has ever used a blower knows you start with a small pile stretched across the yard, as you continue the pile grows larger and larger.  My four year old granddaughter couldn’t resist jumping and rolling in the traveling mounds as I was blew them forward toward the street.  She would stay right in the midst of the leaves as they swirled around her.  When the last of them were gone she would quickly jump up from the ground and dive into the new swell of foliage that was larger than the last.  Pretty soon her seven-year-old sister saw what was going on and had to get involved in the fun also.  Now with two wiggling and giggling obstructions in the path of my task, it made the job of cleanup a lot slower.  What should have taken 20 minute ran almost an hour, and yes, I could have made the girls get out of the leaves, but why?  What was more important at that moment, getting yard work done or creating a memory of fun and laughter with grandpa?  Well, in my way thinking the answer is a no-brainer.  There was no way I was going to stop the girls’ fun, even if it took twice as long!  You see, I’m a big believer in creating lasting memories; good, fun memories, something you can look back at and have it bring a smile to your face.  And nothing can do that more for this man than making people laugh and smile, especially children.  I believe it’s the essence of physical life to bring happiness to others, particularly loved ones; in so doing you bring happiness to yourself.  The main reason I feel that way is because in my early days, I had a person in my life whose philosophy on life was contrary to the one I just described; and the memories it created in me are ones I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Price, my great-aunt’s husband was a rather large man in stature, standing over 6 feet tall and weighing near 300.  He was the 1st male influence I had in my life since I never knew my father.  As long as I did the things that made him happy, he was okay to be around; the only problem was I didn’t always know what that was.  It never took much to set old Price off and when he did get mad, life for me as well as my mom could get pretty ugly. Since the two of us had to live with my aunt and Price I guess he felt that gave him the right to do whatever he wanted.  I could be playing and all of a sudden have a huge beefy hand knock me to the ground for reasons such as making too much noise or just because he was in a bad mood.  Very seldom did I have friends over the house because Price just wouldn’t like it.  If I did get to have company, I usually was ridiculed or physically hurt after they left for what ever reason he felt justified. Probably the worse that ever happened was when I was bouncing a ball on the sidewalk that led up to our house.  New grass had just been planted and I was told to stay off the yard.  Price was working on the front steps with a hammer.  When his anger erupted, I doubt if he even realized he had the hammer in his hand.  But the moment I lost control of the ball and it got in the yard, he swung around and hit me in the back of the head, opening a large wound and leaving a scar I have to this day.  When mom saw what he did she ripped him a new one, which in turn got her beat.  (Just a side note here, what I’m describing is a text book case of a bully, someone who hurts and terrorizes ones smaller and weaker than them.)  I could go on with other examples forever, but it’s not worth telling.  I will say the physical abuse finally stopped one day when he came at my mom again and she picked a very thick coffee mug and let if fly, hitting Price in the forehead and dropping him like a bad habit. The little small-framed gal with the hearing and learning disability then stood over that big man and let him know what she would do to him while he slept if he ever touched her or me again!  Later in life, she told she would have busted his head years earlier had she known that’s all it would take to get him to stop the abuse.

When you’re young and all this is going on, life can be pretty confusing.  You don’t know what to do to make it stop.  You don’t know what you ever did to be treated in such a manner.  You couldn’t tell anyone what was going on back in the 60s, it seems that it would be written off as just child discipline and even cast the child in a bad light if they did complain to someone; an attitude with some back then that you probably had it coming anyway.  Please now, don’t get the idea I’m here to tell about a terrible chapter in my childhood, to which it was.  What I’m doing is relating facts about my life that I have no doubt are a mirror image to many others; and to also tell where and how I found freedom.

My Uncle Price passed away in 1970, but by then I had little to do with the man.  I was playing music by then and most of my friends were older and I would stay with them often so there would be large gaps of time where I wouldn’t even see him.  I knew he was sick with cancer and slowly dying in a bedroom that I never went near.  When the time of his death came, I wasn’t home and felt no emotion when I received the news.  I was not ever present for his viewing or funeral.  He was gone, but still there was a memory, a bad memory that I just couldn’t seem to shake or rid from my mind for no more than short periods of time.  It was if he was hurting me all over again, except this time mentally over physically; and there would be times I thought I would lose my mind because of it.

My favorite writer, C.S. Lewis once said, “Everybody thinks forgiveness is a good idea until they have something to forgive.”  When I became a Christian I remember praying God to forgive me of my sins and take control of my life.  It’s been good, but I’ve had my highs and lows.  During the times of the lows, I’ve had to return to God and ask once more for Him to forgive me for my unfaithfulness.  The good thing is I know every time I do, He does just that–forgives me for whatever I bring to Him (1John1:9) and because of His love, He then remembers it no more (Psalm103:12).

It occurred to me one day when I was being mentally tortured by a man that had been gone for 25 years that the problem didn’t exist with Price, it existed with me.  My man Lewis said in another of his works. “Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing.  The important thing is that discord has been resolved.”

Like a ton of bricks it hit me, as long as I held on to the evil this man did, he or it would continue to harm me.  It wasn’t until I realized that it wouldn’t change, until I did for Price what the Creator of the universe did for me; forgive.  One night while driving home on a two lane road this thought came on me so hard I couldn’t continue to drive.  Pulling over and exiting the car I sat on the hood for a few minutes and then declared in a loud voice, since there was no one around to hear me, “PRICE! You fat mud-sucking overbearing jerk, I will never forget what you did to me and my mother, but by the name of Lord Jesus Christ, I do for you what He did for me; I FORGIVE YOU!”  I was startled by a noise farther off the road.  When I looked closer, I saw that it was some cows that had come over to the fence and were staring at me as if to say, “Dude, less coffee, more sleep, you need to chill.”  Returning to car I was laughing so hard I could hardy drive.  (I had the idea that God was getting a good chuckle out of me also.)  Wow, I was thinking about Price, and I was laughing, awesome!

Here’s how I’m going to sum this up; if you or someone you know suffers from what I did, don’t let it go on, seek help.  Don’t let anyone or anything rob you of the happiness God wants you to have.  The pain or even the hate is not worth hanging on to; it only robs you of life.  For me I’ve had reoccurrences of hurt I once suffered on many occasions, but each time I turn it over to God and declare I forgive you, Price  (in a much quieter voice than the 1st time).  I truly have experienced healing in a way I never thought I would. God you are so awesome!

This week, this day, experience healing if you are in need.  Forgive the unforgivable, I guarantee it will be the most exhilarating feeling you ever experience.  Then, this week, this day, go out and laugh, make someone else laugh, learn and never, Never, NEVER forget, you are someone special!  Not because I say so, even though I believe it, but because the Creator of the universe says so.  Psalm 139:13-16, John 3:16

So who wants to join me and the girls in the leaf pile?!! :o)

 


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