Love knows the road to forgiveness (pt2)

by Craig on May 17, 2011

As I heard those familiar, heavy, furious footsteps coming closer.

I was heading toward them.

I could think only one thing,

“Let’s finish this now!”

And I clenched my own fists.

This is part two of this story – it really needs part one to make sense. That’s here. And I just remembered, when you get there I tell you that needs background and link further back. But I promise if you read the history you will be glad you did. Hard forgiveness is required when harder offense has been committed.

He stomped in one direction, me heading firmly to head him off.

We met literally eye to eye.

Inches from him,

he couldn’t walk around me if he wanted to.

And he did suddenly want to.

He needed a way to justify his anger. Because here’s the thing. His rage always hid beneath, irate about work, or his life, or the weather, something. But in order to unleash it he would wait for a “reason” and explode. Then it could be justified and blamed on someone else. Oh how our minds work.

My brother holding his ankle would be enough to do that.

Except, I was in his way.

Eyes were close enough see different colors in the pupils.
Faces near enough to feel each other’s breath.
Chests almost touching.

I had 20 years of built up rage that was, at that moment, begging to be released.

I’ve never once hit someone.

I was in a fight once.

It involved a girl, and her ex boyfriend, her very large ex boyfriend, and a bar.

It was in the pre-Christian era.

It lasted one punch.

I didn’t throw it.

So I’ve never been a fighter. Words were always my thing. My big mouth got me into trouble – and then usually got me out of it.

But this time I was ready. I was stronger, younger, faster, and well able to confront this man’s unrelenting wrath with my own. I was doing all I could, silently beseeching him to take a shot. Just. one. shot. Just to give me an excuse to pay him back for years of … unfairness.

He shuffled to the left.

I blocked him…

to the right…

and I blocked him again.

Then came the words sprayed in my face, words I knew well. I’d heard them from the time I was 5.

A hot blast of anger and volume and, “What are you an idiot?!”

“No. I. am. not!”

I thought that would do it. I was ready. I might even have prayed for him to take a swing. This too was in the pre-Christian era. But he didn’t. He backed off. And as he backed down I can remember thinking “NO!”

“Are you OK?” he asked my brother – around me, not looking to pass through me anymore. My brother said, “Yeah.”

My one chance to get even, to pay back, was slipping away and I didn’t want it to. But I could see the furor subside in his eyes, and his fists unclench, and he walked away.

I seethed. How could it be that the one time in my life I wanted to see his temper, and meet it with rage of my own, that he would deprive me of the chance!

And how does someone let go of this kind of hatred?

How could I?

Because I did.

I have.

And I can tell you this.

Though I did forgive.

It wasn’t really me.

Someone a little higher was responsible.

There is more…

Please come back.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

jackie May 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

Craig – nearly speechless here with your bold telling of your story! Also hanging on for the rest, feel like I NEED to know how this forgiveness stuff works. It’s imperitive at the moment. Also, want to scoop up 5-year-old you with arms of protection. Yes 5 is very small and not the age one should have to choose between happy and sad and then suffer the consequences of the baggage of protecting your mom. I’m really sorry, and I understand the boxes we can create around ourselves and the anticipation we can live in waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve been fighting for my own freedom from those things the last 2 years. Blessings on you! Also wondering how you are sleeping these days? And I’m not sure where you live but my former pastor is at the United Methodist Church in Webster Groves http://www.websterhillsumc.org/.

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Craig May 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

You know, everybody says that the telling of the story is bold and courageous. I don’t get it, to me it’s just a story – it explains things, but I don’t get how it’s brave. Still, thank you for saying it. I remember vividly sitting on that bed in a little apartment in Brooklyn, and wanting so badly to say “Don’t do it mom. He’s mean and I don’t like him” – and then spill the details. I wonder sometimes how my life might’ve been different if I had made a different choice.

Then, I was only five or six and made the best choice I could at the time. It wasn’t easy. I remember battling in my mind wanting to say one thing but knowing I needed to say the other thing, and so I said the other thing.

I want you to know – I just prayed for you in your situation. Whatever the issues that have been for the last two years, I prayed for God to help with whatever healing that needs to be. I don’t know the details, but he does. And sleep? That is what it is – it’s never really good – but it’s a thorn. I hate it. But it serves a purpose.

I’ve said it before, if our Lord who decides to take it, I’m good with that, I’m grateful , and if he never does I’ll be okay with that too. And Webster Groves? It’s about a half-hour drive from here. Should I take a drive, and go tell him you said hi? Thank you for this Jackie. Thank you. And God bless you.

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Debra May 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I followed the links all the way to the background prefacing this post… to when you were five, and never would I have imagined you having lived through all this dear Craig. And I wonder how your mother put up with such an insensitive man… I wonder if she realized, after the fact, what an error in judgment she made to put her children in harm’s way…
Thank you for sharing these life stories. It truly sheds light on why you’ve become the noble soul you are today. For it’s through much suffering and tribulation that we enter the kingdom of God. If we’d not endured these hardships, would we have ever sought God’s love and healing?

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Craig May 17, 2011 at 7:37 pm

My poor mom Debra – she was a single mom of two boys in the late 60s. She married a man she thought would be a good provider – and that he was. And physically there was only one person he ever laid a hand on. I don’t blame my mom – she did what she thought was best, she tried to protect as best she could. And noble soul? I love our Lord like life but if, as our Lord said, there is no one “good” – well – not so noble. A rebellious wayward creation of our Lord who I believe is finally becoming on our Lord intended all along. Still, thank you because your words are kind – and I appreciate them – God bless you and all of yours – thank you.

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A. May 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm

TCraig, thank you for sharing this and sharing the wisdom that your years of pain and suffering produced in you. Not all people gain from their suffering. Some just become bitter or lose hope and shrivel up. I am grateful you didn’t though you may have had a lengthy time of having some of those feelings and more. I am learning from you. I only hope that man can also know your Father before it is too late. His life can’t be very happy or fulfilling at any deep level. Prayers for him; gratitude that you found the answers you needed to rest in our Father and His ways.

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Craig May 17, 2011 at 7:53 pm

A. “Bitter” has never really been my thing. I guess a person can go any number of ways given a rough start. Bitter is one of them – and hard – and cold. I went a different way. He has strengths, my father, and in the strangest way in every way that he is strong I am weak and on the ways that I am strongest he is weakest. Love? That’s kind of my thing – he doesn’t have that one figured out all. But, let’s see, where am I weak, where have I always been weak? There’s a long list – so many to choose from :-) I’ll just choose one – I’ve never been much for making money. He knows business – he knows how to make a profit – and I have always been expert at finding a way to make less money than I was worth. There is one – the rest can stay in the box for now. God bless you, A. and I appreciate your praying for him – I’ve grown a little weary of it – and he needs our Lord. To be honest, even when I do pray for him – I worry that my heart isn’t in it. So, throw up a prayer for him please – he is a hard man and he needs to know our Lord. God bless you.

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A. May 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm

That TCraig thing was a typo. :) On the other hand, maybe it stands for Teacher Craig. It could, for sure.

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Liz Hoyt Eberle May 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Ahhh, dear Craig. As a tired, old OLD mom, I want to pull you into my arms and promise you ‘it is okay; you are a dear son; I love you.’ As a fellow so-journer, I sigh deeply and say ‘thank you for teaching me and helping me remember.’ As a sister in Christ, I raise my arms in praise for the mighty works our real Father has done in you.
And… you name it a mere thorn but I pray for sleep for you. I know what it is like to go without.

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Liz, really – thank you for this – I heart your mom-ness – I’m glad to be a fellow sojourner – and I’m happy that you’re my sister – and that our God is really nice. I’ve been a lot of trouble for God, bless his heart, he’s a patient one :-)

And the thorn? Thank you for the praying – again though – if it stays I thank him – if he removes it I thank him. But just between you and me, I’d rather it be gone :-) God bless you.

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Candra Georgi May 17, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Thanks for stopping by earlier!

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Craig May 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

and thank you the same Candra, but remember, I was never there… :-)

God bless and keep all of yours this day – and thank you again.

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