That’s what he said. He said it — or wrote it, actually — and I wish he hadn’t. (I gathered that several people wished he hadn’t.)
Many years ago, he wrote it, and it sticks with me. This voice from the past has haunted me more than any single remark I can remember.
Whether or not there is or was any morsel of truth in what he said, the fact that he said it at all is embarrassing — so much so that I won’t repeat it here. (I like being transparent, but this is over my line. Aside: I have a couple of licensed-counselor friends who may read this post. They may want to therapeutize me!)
And what caused him to say this? On the surface, a lack of tolerance and understanding? Or, more ironically, a lack of lovingkindness? Maybe a sustained vehemence for something he disagreed with, beyond anything even I can imagine (and yep, I can muster vehemence on occasion). Had he any idea how much he was piercing? I think so, probably. . . .
~ ~ ~
A few months ago, he died. Quite “early,” too.
Despite years of lack of connection, I would ordinarily have reached out to his family. I feel for them — for more than one reason. But I did not contact them, and I honestly believe this would have been their choice, at least for now.
I’m not one to pander to popular notions of propriety when there are deeper or higher values at stake. Resultantly, I have very little interest in a mere “respect for the dead” here. He is where he is, and I trust that is a place of comfort, until the final denouement, because he was nothing if not a man of intense faith in the Lord Christ. Yes, he was deluded by his own intensity at times, and arrogance would boil over every now & then, and he would run over people sometimes. (Speaking as one whose words are also sometimes clouded by his own intensity, I can understand this.)
The fact is, he did a lot of damage in this life, along with all the good. The same could be observed about most of us.
“RIP” (often a dismissive speech crutch) is not exactly what I want to say here, but I do want to put to rest a thing or two as 2012 passes away. I doubt this man’s eternally living soul has any consciousness of my thoughts now, because there are far more significant aspects of existence in which to dwell eternally. I do not disrespect the good memories associated with him — and there are some — but neither do I let the undesirable, un-Christlike elements pass without recognition. He was boorish at times, but he trusted God and was one of His children, and that makes all the difference.
And now, as the year in which he died passes, I write (speak) forgiveness — not for his benefit, because he has no human consciousness now. I forgive, ironically selfishly, for my own benefit, and also for the Lord’s honor.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Col. 3:12-13, NLT)
There are things I never understood about him, but I ought to put the hurtful stuff to rest. As a side note, I suspect this type of mental/spiritual activity will be a somewhat bigger part of my life for a while — let’s call it “more readily available opportunity to ‘forgive, for they know now what they do.’”
Yes, better to put each wound-inducing memory to rest, in order to train my eyes more frequently on the One who, when He suffered, “did not retaliate and made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2)