Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Forgiveness is Everything (from Annie Lamott)

This morning, Anne Lamott posted the following to her Facebook page. At Christmas time, I think it says it all:
Prayer means we're invited out of the metallic self-obsessed isolation, which is hell, into the warmth of union, of Goodness, of vitality, and playfulness, and I'm like, "Look, can I get back to You on this?"

Left to my own devices, I love my obsessive isolation. I get a lot more done. But luckily I am not left to my own devices. I have you, in the Martin Buber sense of the word "you"--Thou. The sacred other. You start throwing a bunch of messy love moments from friends and loving goofball strangers into my day, and the whole system threatens to collapse. All of a sudden, I go from the trance of Forward Thrust, wearing the armor of busyness and achievement and stature, to finding myself on the floor with Jax's fiancee, making play-doh spagetti. Or settling in with some very old photos of my family, when here I set out to organize the garage. Or wanting to call a man I fired six months ago, who had put in a new tile floor but jacked up the price, and inviting him to christmas breakfast in 6 days with my beloved riff-raff.

He used to BE beloved riff-raff. Then he crossed me. And now I had a hard dead spot in my heart, and today I think I might just postpone decorating the Christmas tree--creating light in these cold dark days of Advent and Newtown--until after I clean up the mess in my heart where I harbor resentment. God has helped me miss him.

Someone once famously said that holding onto resentment is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.

So that is my new, revised, not-left-to-my-own-devices plan for the day. It will make me WAY more vulnerable than I had planned. But I know it is what God would want if She were standing right here in her best hat, like our oldest church ladies. She would say, "Oh, tiny princess. Stop being such a big whiny baby. Forgive Joel. ask that he forgive you. You are both here for forgiveness. For the purpose of forgiveness. Get a grip, Hon."

What if my contribution to peace in this shattered scary sad world was to do this brave holy thing today? I am pretty sure this earth is secretly Forgiveness School. We ask ourselves, Would you rather be right, or happy? If we want to be happy, we have to forgive, one person at a time. But then we get to feel the Light again, a lightness; and practice radical playfulness in the face of tragedy. so that is what I'll do: forgive Joel, ask for forgiveness from him, and then (worst of all) forgive myself for being such as asshat. Then I'll decorate the tree, add light to this joint! and then, and only then, I'll get on the floor for the sacrament of play-doh spaghetti.
Anne Lamott's new book is "Help, Thanks, Wow."

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