Thursday, September 20, 2007

No Debts

While having some ability to forgive others, I still struggle with it, that long tunnel of having come to turns with something only to find out that you have not, that you really harbor a grudge in your heart, that you in fact are upset, not just a little upset, but really upset, upset enough to perseverate on the argument or slight for days and days, creating an identity out of it, making it my little friend. But I have known people who could outdo me on this score and really take someone to task. My dear friend Hank generally wrote poems and letters to this end; I have found myself at the end of that gun a few times as has everyone he knew. My great anti-homage from Hank was his blues song, "Detroit Woman." It took to task me and everyone I'd ever dated. I received it as my Christmas present one year as did everyone else we knew. So much, I thought with bitterness in my heart, for the season of love and joy.

My grandfather was a charismatic, violent man with a propensity for outbursts, Jack Daniels, and twirling his pistol around late into the night. The concept of mercy was as foreign and exotic to him as the take-out Chinese food my mother sometimes bought from Polynesian Gardens, the only restaurant in town that did not serve chicken-fried steak as its main dish. He forgave no debts and his quality of fairness had more to do with some indignant second rate vigilante hopped up on meth than any spiritual precept. I did not learn about mercy and forgiveness from him. But he often said, You have the same shoes to get glad in that you got mad in. It was one of his favorite tidbits, usually when someone was pouting. The spirit was get the fuck over it, but in truth, it was good advice for forgiving. To some degree, we choose how we feel about most situations and our perceptions rule the day. "Detroit Woman" is one of my favorites off that particular Hank cd now. I failed to see the humor in it at the time, but these days I listen every so often and smile, think about his relentless quality and how it stayed with him in this world always and no doubt into the next one.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"If you take a lie and allow your desire for the truth, you'll end up with some truth - not fact, but something that gets you closer to the truth. That's what we want. " Denis Johnson

Cocktail Hour
Drinking short story collection suggestion: Drastic Maud Casey

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!


Anonymous said...

good. very good.

Yeah, that Anonymous

Ropinator said...

As the proverb says "forgive but not forget".

eric1313 said...

I agree that this was excellent.

Feelings I can identify with so thoroughly it makes me smile, can't help but smile. Reminds me of the depressing Lennon song about the hollowness often associated with the holiday season.

A blues song called Detroit Woman? Man, that sounds awesome. I'll have to check Amazon and bust my stratocaster out. Bet he did that acoustic slide thing he was so good at on the CD. I'd do the "electric church" version, to quote Jimi about his "Red House" sound that he loved so much.

Let us grant mercy to the deserving, and none at all to the bitter, unrelenting wicked.

Donna said...

Forgiveness has a strong element of humility in it in that it requires us to percieve the common humanity we share with the offender in addition to the percieved offense. Hence, forgiveness, when it is possible to confer it, is of great value to the forgiver. It helps that person accept and forgive themselves also. Even small slights, truly forgiven, have a healing power.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ouch, saw some of myself in that post.

Paul said...


bix nood said...


Paul's makes a good point- you are free, Rockin' Mama.

eric1313 said...

There is wisdom here. I find it difficult to see this clearly, sometimes.

Thank you, Donna. You are wise.

And thank you, Michelle. I understand. I do.

Peace--I need to practice that.

the walking man said...

Forgiveness is a debt...a debt you owe to yourself. Unfortunately until the debt is paid the interest compounds daily. So what of what use is it to not forgive if by not doing it means you are digging yourself deeper into the quagmire?

Whoever it is you're not forgiving you should at the very least send them an e-mail and forgive them if you can't do it face to face. The other person may snort (doubt it highly) but even though it is an easy way out, it is a way into that place of self, where forgiveness is the core of peace.



Anonymous said...

possibly the best post and followup discussion I have ever seen here

Yeah, that Anonymous