Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Inquiring Minds Want To Know!

The National Enquirer would have had plenty of articles for their magazine if they had been around our house the last couple of years. I'm glad they weren't. But I guess it's time for me to report an upcoming event in our lives. My son is getting married. Tomorrow. Joe decided last week that he is tired of waiting until his cancer is gone, he wants to get married. Now. He has been with his girlfriend for three years. They will get married in front of the Justice of the Peace, a very small ceremony, with only parents invited. Hopefully, Joe will fully recover from his cancer, and they will have a big reception this summer.

Lots of emotions fill me today. I never thought he and his girlfriend would actually get married, but then again, I never thought his girlfriend would stick with him through his cancer - twice no less. Before Joe got cancer there were multiple events which the National Enquirer would have loved to sink their teeth into. Lots of things that happened that left lots of bad feelings between the girlfriend and several members of our family. It's hard to get over bad feelings. It's hard to forgive, especially when the offender isn't necessarily sorry for what happened.

Luckily, our pastor at church has been giving a series on forgiveness. It couldn't have come at a better time.

I wish I could tell you all the wonderful things he discussed but I don't have time - I have a wedding to get ready for, remember? Bottom line is this. If we don't forgive those who have hurt us, we continue to hurt ourselves over the hurt and every time we think about the offense, it hurts us again. Past hurts only bring anger and resentment that turn to poison for our bodies, minds and spirits.

Most people will cry out that the person who hurt them doesn't DESERVE forgiveness! Sometimes, the offender doesn't even WANT forgiveness! But we don't just forgive for them, we forgive FOR OURSELVES - whether or not they deserve it. WE deserve it.

And really, forgiveness is the foundation of the Christian faith. I think about all my own faults and the things I have done in my life that have hurt other people, and hurt God. I'm sure there are things I have done that I didn't even know hurt someone else. And yet, God forgives every transgression. How can I not forgive those around me?

But how do we do it? How do we get over it? Slowly, a little bit at a time. Forgiveness can take time. And even when we feel we are "over it," it will rear it's ugly head every now and then. What then? Our pastor suggests having a strategy to think good thoughts when the bad thoughts come. For instance, if we have dill pickles right in front of us, it is hard not to think about them. But, if we put the dill pickles next to us and start to cut a mango, we focus on the sweet mango - even if the pickles are right there.

This is the strategy I have focused on. When past hurts come up, I scoot them out of my mind and try to think of all the positive things I can regarding the person - in this case, our son's girlfriend.

I have determined that from this day forward, I will not allow the past to hurt me. I will focus on the mango, the positives. I will even refuse to say anything negative about the girl my son has decided to marry. "On my honor, I will promise, to not say, do or think anything bad..." (Oh, those Girl Scout days sure do come in handy!)

And there are lots of positives to say. (See? I am turning over a new leaf!) She has stuck by Joe during his bouts of cancer and Joe loves her. (There, that wasn't so hard now, was it??) She likes animals and she is really smart. (See, I'm doing very well!) She has big boobs that she flaunts. Oops! I mean, she has a nice figure. (I just put that one in for fun, to see if you are still paying attention!)

But seriously, I am happy for my son because I know this is going to make him happy. He has a great outlook about beating his cancer and he has a strong will to live. Part of that is because he wants to have a life with the woman he loves.

So, tomorrow, we will witness the first marriage of one of our children. I am thinking of mangos, and I am happy.


Nicole said...

ONLY YOU... can make your audience cry and laugh on the same topic. You and Oprah. I was reading your post and thought that I only cry this much while watching Oprah episodes.

I can tell you that distance has helped me gain perspective about the situation as well, which has been the only thing about the distance from family that has been beneficial.

Keep thinking of the mango. I will be.

Christina said...

Oh, congratulations, what a big happy event. :-)
You are doing a good job thinking of mangoes ... I can't imagine how hard it would be if (when?) my kids fell in love with someone I was not particularly fond of. Hopefully marriage will be a good thing for her and she will grow and blossom into the woman you always wanted for your son. :-}