Thursday, January 29, 2009
I Can't Forgive Myself
Special thanks to lovely Lana of The Dreaming Tree (check out her wonderful blog www.lucidflora.blogspot.com ) for making me think more deeply about this subject with her thoughtful comment about dissociative amnesia (for those interested in the subject, there's a good wikipedia article on it) on my post about "The Wrestler."
Ted Haggard spent most of his life preaching that there are no secrets, that what is done in the darkness will see the light. Books are full ghosts that won't stay quiet, secrets that won't stay buried. In the case of Ted Haggard, his secret was that he has homosexual tendencies (he does not define himself as gay or straight at this point in his life) and acted upon them from time to time. He claims he was sexually abused as a child and this forced him into a double life, one where he preached to one of the largest evangelical congregations in United States and one where he frequented male prostitutes, played "little games" (fill in the blanks here, people) with his assistant at the church (the young man received a substantial pay-off to "comfort" him), and did meth. After he lost everything, he claims to have come to know the true love and forgiveness of Jesus. Now he must make amends to those whom he has hurt.
Forgiveness is perhaps the most difficult concept for any of us. When we have been traumatized, our tendency is to bury it deep inside ourselves because who can bear the pain of betrayal, the dark side of love and trust? I often think of my mother and her childhood where she endured her parents' abuse until they abandoned her in the middle of the night, one step ahead of the creditors as usual, and she'd become a piece of furniture too cumbersome to move one more time. And how much pain that caused her not in her early youth, but later, when she could no longer forget and pretend it didn't matter. Ted Haggard's wife is sticking with him despite all the lies (claiming there are fireworks in the bedroom with Ted on Oprah -- this defense made me sadder than anything else on the entire show for some reason). And of course, he has asked forgiveness from the homosexual community whom he maligned for years. Every once in a while, you'll hear someone say he or she can't forgive themselves. Which I admire since it indicates a frank understanding of the damage done. But what are we to do with those who never admit complicity to the pain they have caused? Unlike a lot of times when we ask a question, I don't have the start of an answer.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"How much is your sin going to cost me?" Ted Haggard
Drinking documentary suggestion: The Trials Of Ted Haggard (tonight on HBO!)
Benedictions and Maledictions