Several years ago, during Lent, I made a commitment to pray for people who had hurt me in some way. It was really difficult. It made me physically ill for the first few weeks that I did it. It brought up all kinds of bad feelings, old angers. By the end of that Lent, I had forgiven a lot of people, but I was still harboring a lot of grudges. Forgiveness is hard.
Today, a person did something insanely mean to somebody I love. I'm still in a state of disbelief. I can't go into much detail. But I do have to say that I can't stand self-righteousness. Someone who sits in judgement. I certainly know that Jesus Christ didn't like self-righteous people either. I believe he called them "a brood of vipers."
So, Saint Marty is angry tonight. Not feeling very thankful at all. Sorry.
Seven years ago, this episode of Classic Saint Marty appeared. It was all about forgiveness. Go figure.
April 2, 2010: Saint John Payne
First off, my apologies to any reader who tried to access my blog
during the last couple of days. I discovered there was a problem
yesterday morning and had the good people at blog.com working on it all
day. In fact, even as I'm writing this post in my journal, I'm not sure
I'll even have a forum on which to share it. My fear is that my entire
blog has somehow been deleted, which I would attribute to a satanic cult
or the Tea Party (I can't tell the difference between the two). But I
am going to finish writing this entry in good faith that blog.com will
quickly exorcise whatever demon (Sarah Palin-inspired or not) has taken
control of my computer.
Second, I am going to move
backward in time because I want to finish discussing Easter weekend. I
feel like I somehow dropped the ball by not writing about Good Friday,
Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday yet. That's sort of like playing for
the Yankees and missing the first three games of the World Series. (You
have now heard the extent of my sports analogy skills, so you better
bookmark this page.) Hence, hop into the Wayne's World time machine with me, start waving your fingers in front of your face, and repeat after me: Do-do-do-doooo, do-do-do-dooo, do-do-do-dooo.
took the day off work on Good Friday. I had two church services to
attend, grocery and candy shopping to do, and banking to complete. One
church service fell smack dab in the middle of the day--noon (that was
the Catholic one). The second service took place at 7 p.m. (that was
ecumenical, involving four or five different churches). As I said in my
post about Palm Sunday, I find the services of Holy Week emotionally
draining, especially the ones on Good Friday.
I don't know
why I always find myself so invested in the passion narratives every
Easter. This year, with my 40-day crash course in forgiveness, I was
overwhelmed when I listened to Christ's words on the cross, begging
forgiveness for his killers. That made little, petty me feel like a
puppy that had just taken a dump on Jesus' carpet. He was rubbing my
nose in it. Basically, the entire week, I couldn't swing a dead cat
without hitting some reminder of the necessity of forgiveness. It got so
bad that I felt like throwing up my hands and yelling, "Enough already.
I get it. Grudges bad. Forgiveness good."
I wished I
could claim to be different because of my 40 days of prayer. I wished I
could be like Saint John Payne, the English priest who was martyred in
1582. A convert, John was eventually arrested and thrown in the Tower of
London. He was tortured for nine months before being hanged and drawn
and quartered. If you don't know what that means: he was dragged to his
place of execution by a horse--drawn; strung up for a short while by his
neck--hanged; and then beheaded and sliced into four pieces--quartered.
John Payne suffered horribly for his beliefs, but he never abandoned
them. He held onto his faith in love and forgiveness. He understood what
Good Friday was all about.
I, on the other hand, was
struggling. I was still praying for my list of the unforgiven. The list,
I'm happy to report, had shrunk to about four or five offenders.
Considering that I started with a football stadium full of assholes,
dicks, bitches, and bastards, this was a vast improvement. I don't
recall when I started releasing my anger, but one day about a week
before Good Friday, I found myself praying for the same two people, over
and over. I can't really pat myself on the back for this fact, however,
because I still harbored enough anger toward these individuals to make
up for all the other bad juju I'd already released during Lent. In fact,
I would say I didn't let go of anything. I simply transferred it to
these two persons who've hurt me so much that the very thought of
forgiving them seems akin to petitioning the state of Israel to declare
Adolf Eichmann's birthday a national holiday.
comparison, you can probably tell that I wasn't going to forgive these
remaining people very easily. As Dana Carvey, doing George Bush Sr.,
would say, "Not gonna happen. Wouldn't be prudent." I could tell myself
that I would make that leap of love by Easter, but I would have
been lying to myself. It would be sort of like expecting a one-pound,
solid Godiva bunny in your basket and getting a two-dollar, hollow
Palmer bunny. When you bite the head of the Palmer rabbit, it crumbles
to pieces and leaves a shitty taste in your mouth.
I knew I was headed for a Palmer Easter.