Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, March 27, 2020

the stuff we carry

Resentment, Part Duex

Do we really want to be rid of our resentments, our anger, our fear? Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain. It seems safer to embrace what we know than to let go of it for fear of the unknown.
                                                   (Narcotics Anonymous Book/page 33)

it lies there
like Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger,
your mother’s meatloaf,
or a dry fruitcake.

sitting there, in that deep inner place,
a foul presence
that contaminates our souls

rot, rot, rot
fester, fester, fester

that stuff we carry

that stuff that weakens our heart
clouds our minds
blurs our sight

and leads to
which leads dark things
like retribution, and cruelty

once upon a time
I was stabbed in the back
It was not that I was blameless in the situation,
but the options were there for openness
and healing

instead there were assumptions
and outright lies

this person was the first person I knew
who owned a minivan
a Dodge
minivan (the only kind there were at that time)

the impact of this person’s feelings, attitudes
and behavior
were profound

and even though the eventual outcomes was just
the facts were twisted
and the offense multiplied

and so for years
every time I saw a minivan
my heart pounded
a lump formed in my stomach
and bile rose

I was not free
I was burdened by the fact
That I could not let go
Could not even try to understand
What it was within this person
That caused them to do what they did

Eventually I got there
And was able to travel

Not light

It is really difficult to travel light
Not to pick up
All the things that come our way

The hard comments
The misunderstood statements
The harmful behaviors
The dysfunction

We grab them and hoard them

And if we are not careful
They become our dragon’s hoard

And we wallow and revel in our hurt
and it becomes valuable to us

it becomes who we are
it becomes comfortable

but it is not who we are
we are Sacred Children
designed for freedom
designed for compassion
and forgiveness
and love

and so as we sit
staring at the TV screen
hating the voice, the sight of one we abhor

as we see that person who has
“done us wrong”
sitting a few desks away
or a few pews away
or across the kitchen table

as we struggle with our resentment
we are not ourselves

it is resentment
and retribution that are the unnatural acts
that separate us from God
and from one another

As he left a life of imprisonment
and walked down the path to freedom
Nelson Mandela is reported to have said these words,

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.”

By contrast, the people of Israel
faced with the broad expanse of the desert
and freedom, and newness
are said to have proclaimed

“we want to go back to Egypt”

“Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred
because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain.”

And make no mistake
Letting go is scary
Forgiving is scary
Trusting is scary
Giving of yourself
Is terrifying

But God calls us to lay down our fear (be not afraid)
And step forth
Into freedom

Resentment has no place
on the journey
to the Kingdom

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