My spouse and I are slowly making my way through a book called Total Forgiveness.  For some time we have tried to set aside one night a week just to read to each other.  It doesn’t happen regularly and recently has only happened after great lapses of time.
If you are expecting any part of the above to be a thesis on this post, nope.  It’s only irrelevant back story.  That’s what makes reality TV so appealing right?
Ok, so my point.  In the reading the author makes (what for me is) a profound statement.  He says that “total forgiveness is painful”.  This got my wheels turning.  If it’s something I give and it’s painful, isn’t this what we call sacrifice?  In other words, total forgiveness is sacrifice on my part.  Wow!!  Big thought, huge ramifications.
Food for thought.
If you want more details on the book see My Library and click on the book image.
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Not Steven Spielberg or J.J. Abrams, but then I don’t claim to be.

Anyway, a different way to have fun with your spouse.

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A great Jedi Knight once said,
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
Do or do not… there is no try.
Fear, a base emotion that tries to rule us all.
Fear-based thinking leads down many paths.  Fear-based thinking causes me to squeeze my world for tighter control.  Fear-based thinking causes me to run in shear panic (or freeze in my tracks).  Fear-based thinking pushes away at that which I need most.  Fear-based thinking creates the world of misery I am so trying to avoid, which is why I am afraid in the first place.
My world is either based on fear or freedom.  There is no CHOICE in the middle.
Fear is a choice.  It is not thrust upon me.  I choose fear or I choose not.  There is no try not to be fearful.
I suppose one that is has lived 896 years might have gleaned a bit of insight.
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It’s a horrible state to be in.  No one wants to be there and I wager to say that a significant number of people have been there at one time or another.
Jonah had something of an epiphany from the belly of the fish.

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. Jonah 2:8

Worthless idols?  Little dolls?  How about ideas, how about preconceived notions that this is the way things work; this is what has to happen?
How often do we think of thoughts clung to with a tight fist as worthless idols?
Wasn’t it thoughts that Jonah was referring to from the depths?
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Recently, the 4th person in my high school graduating class contacted me on FaceBook.  That makes 5 out of 9 of us that are in contact 31 years later.  We never had a reunion.  In fact this is the most of us that have been in contact at once since we graduated.
Grandparents in the group.  Wow! How’d that happen?  Where has the time gone?  What trials and turmoils have the others had to go through in life’s journey?
Nothing is wasted.  God makes sure of that.  I am so curious about what twists and turns and self-defeating games they’ve played to bring them to where they are.  To be honest it’s not all curiosity, there’s this sense of caring about these people I spend several formative years of my life with.  A sense of how are you doing, how has your heart navigated the choppy waters of life.
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I’m often running toward the next thing.  Life has no time to get boring.  On the flip-side, life leaves no time to smell the roses.  Where’s the balance in it all?
This previous Saturday was one of those days that started way before I wanted to get up.  So many things, so few that I could actually get to.  Then in the midst of this I get a call asking for more of that time.  I knew (and desired) that I should make this new request to the top of the list.  I told him that I would work around his schedule.  I had no idea how the day would pan out but I knew this was “right” in the scheme of what’s important in life.
I scheduled one other priority event for a friend to coincide with a good healthy walk/talk.  These two events were the most important; these two events were people.  After a 7:00am start (I allowed myself to sleep in!), I find myself at 2pm ready to begin the other things on my list.  Suddenly it occurred to me that all “other” (aka people) dependant events were accomplished.  Now the time was “mine,” if I can call this “list” mine.
I think to myself that the kids are gone for the rest of the day so it was time to drop it all and have some fun!  I looked my wife in the eyes and said something to the effect that the day is done so let’s go have fun.  She’s all for that!  We ran off did a few things – boring, something else – yes!  something else – boring, something else – yes!  In the course of the next 8 hours we chose some unsuccessful activities and some great ones.  We had fun together.  Even in the middle of the boring-let’s-get-out-of-here activities we shared those together and enjoyed the company.
It did wonders for my soul.  And you know what?  I can only recall one thing that was all so important and didn’t get done last weekend.  You know what?  It’ll be there next time I make time for it.
Somehow life is about roses and lists.  The soul needs a balance of both or it withers for lack of joy or lack of purpose.
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Why is there is a tendency to pull away from when inner struggles become too great?  Why is it that one finds themselves alienated from the very people that they need the most?
To oversimplify it seems that this struggle comes from one of two sources, shame or guilt.  I don’t want others to see this mess inside me or I can’t let others know that I have wronged.
Pulling away.  Now that’s interesting.  To oversimplify once again pulling away can look like introversion or extroversion.  I’m crawling into my own world and not letting you in or I’m going to do things to you where YOU pull away from me – an neat little trick since it makes it YOUR fault for distancing.
All too often what we need are other people that can look us in the face and be honest but we won’t let them get close.  We won’t let them speak the truth, we won’t even let them console us and be there in silence.
We pull away perpetrating the isolation.
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Today is Columbus Day, at least by our current reckoning.  In all actuality Columbus landed in the New World on October 21, 1492.  In the Julian to Gregorian calendar shift of the 16th century October 21st became October 12th to drop 10 days and re-sync the calendar to the correct season.
Maybe it’s all this confusion that has created apathy in what was a few decades ago a standard state and federal holiday.  Today it’s relegated to a reason for bankers to take a day off because they are so overworked since the advent of ATM’s.
What in the world does all this have to do with the heart?  I’m glad I asked that.  Just as so few are even aware that this day has any special significance, an apparently equal number are oblivious to the condition of the heart.
The heart.  That’s an expression that has changed over the centuries.  At one time when one spoke of their deepest feelings the phrase was more like “the gut” or “the bowels.”  Bottom-line it is a way of identifying the difference between head thinking and something more from the soul or essence of a person.  It’s the “us,” the real “us.”
Ever notice that “the heart” is taken for granted in our society?  I ask how someone is their doing and I get “fine.”  I don’t really care, I don’t really want to hear.  Or do I?
That’s the risk.  I share my soul with you and what will you do with it?  Will you hurt me with it?  Will you reject me and go about your business?  Or do you really care?  What has life become when the heart is relegated to the status of a holiday that celebrates an event that occurred 517 years ago?
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