Joy in Service: Day 16 The Gift of Forgiveness

December 16, 2011
artwork by Dalyn Montgomery
My brother is a very good man. And an artist. And a grad student at an Ivy League University – something all of us are very proud of. We all paid our own way through college and after a long time out in the work force he’s found something he is very passionate about and is taking steps to make it happen. He also donates long hours of service year round to the people in his congregation. He really does make the world a better place.
His local newspaper wrote a short article about both his service and his artwork which is hanging at the University. It was really nice. It mentioned the mixed race of his congregation, and his marriage.

artwork by Dalyn Montgomery
In the comment section about the article, as seems to be the usual case in newspaper comment sections, several people got really nasty. It started with bashing Mormons – no worries. It’s the one socially acceptable group to stereotype and have false ideas about. We’re used to it. What got me were the ugly personal remarks about my brother and his wife. I should have left well enough alone but I jumped in and tried to correct the false comments about our religion and defend my wonderful sister-in-law. Things got worse. I stewed. I tried to just let it go. I couldn’t even though I know full well that people believe what they choose to believe regardless of facts and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
artwork by Dalyn Montgomery

But after a full morning of stewing I realized there is something I can do. I can forgive. I got on-line, tried to lay out a couple more facts, then wished all the attackers peace and a Merry Christmas. No. I didn’t magically feel better – I was still simmering. Sometimes it takes a little work to truly let something go. What helped was realizing that people who spend their time attacking strangers must have very sad lives (with a heart five times too small – we’re reading the Grinch) and no peace. The other thing that helped was blasting Christmas music and singing right out loud. I love Christmas music. After that there was no more simmering.
This was just a little tiny thing. I’m lucky that I don’t have any big things. There are things that are sooooo hard to let go. But truly, forgiveness is even more of a blessing to the one who has been hurt than the one who has done wrong.
Tell me what thing, big or small, you have done to make the world a better place!
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  • Reply
    December 21, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Well what ever we behave is just because what we experience with. All that what is happening in our surrounding is hard to absorb but easy way is to open your eyes and sew your mouth and then forgive what you hear.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Your comments are all comforting. Thank you.
    What surprised me about this past week were the ugly personal remarks about my sister-in-law coming from a black pastor who really obviously despises mormons (and has a lot of very false ideas about them.)

    I know she has ugly experiences from white people quite often, but in my ignorance, it had never occurred to me what she had to endure from blacks as well.

    My brother doesn't get many comments to his face – he's probably just too physically huge for people to confront. But it makes me sad to think what she has to deal with. She's pretty feisty – and I'm I'd actually really love to see her face to face with some of those people on-line. But knowing her, she's just shrugging it off as "some people are idiots."

    I worshipped in the temple this morning and it was the most beautiful place and feeling. Black, white, hispanic – several languages – disabilities. We were all there together in peace. Smiles and interaction that you don't see many places.

    And yes, I prayed for them – the hateful ones. I truly hope they find peace and feel badly that their life experiences have left them so bitter. I pictured in my mind a face to face confrontation – in which I simply hugged them, no matter their reaction.

    Life is good.
    The world is a good place.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    You seemed to forget that you had another way to calm yourself and influence people in a postive way-you wrote in your blog and were able to either hear from your readers or to prompt them to think about what you had written.
    What I try, try, try to remember is the only person you can change is yourself and that oftentimes means that you can only change how you punish yourself. That thought helps me but as you know, it is so hard to change yourself and let things go.

    Funny thing, I live in Maine and don't know any Mormans, but there are so many blogs that are written by Mormans. Seems to me, your religion cares about home, family and beauty in your environment. Those sound A-O.K. to me.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I just discovered your blog…I'm a creative one also. On your recent post, I can relate. It's difficult…forgiveness is crucial because it releases us from their wrongdoing. I have also found it helpful to pray for them…it creates sympathy for them in my heart for where they are in their minds and hearts…and in that, I can learn to love someone who has shown themselves to be an enemy to me.

  • Reply
    Linda Moran
    December 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Love the art work! I am so in favor of finding and then following your passion! I am currently trying to get a former student to realize it's never too late to do what you love. and the newspapers? If people had to be accountable with their rel names, I think we would see a lot more civility and tolerance. Because they can say whatever they want with no one to know who they really are is a mistake. Here is Tucson we are all struggling to cope – and forgive – the events of January 8.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Truly, you and your family will be blessed for the ability to offer forgiveness to narrow minded people. I'm sorry for you all that you had to endure this, and think that you are the far stronger person for the actions that you chose.

    A few months back, I got into a nasty situation with my bf's daughter (the recipient of the geisha quilt that you were kind enough to offer advice on); I made that quilt in the spirit of forgiveness, and hoped that it would act as a bridge to better days, which it has.

    As far as what I did today to make the world a better place, all I could offer was some cuddle time to my daughter, and the healing hands of a massage therapist… Oh, and I did buy dinner for the fam tonight too… Prayers for you, your brother and his wife tonight..

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 3:40 am

    I live in a bubble. A bubble where progress has been made. Where people who think, believe, act, dress, vote differently than I, are still nice people. I don't like to come out of the bubble and see that society is still in its infancy. That bigotry, prejudice, and just plain meaness abound. I am sorry Lyric. The ability to forgive is a huge gift and one to be cherished.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Dear Lyric,
    It's not about being loud.
    It's not about "convincing" anybody of anything.
    It's not about "changing" somebody's mind.

    It's about what's *inside* of *you*, and how you show that and share that with the World.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I think sometimes the hardest thing is when someone attacks someone you love. It is easier (not easy! easier) to shrug it off when it directed against you.

    I know just how you feel. My DH is the most giving person a "background-keeping-things-working-smoothly-so-other-people-can-enjoy-it" sort of person. It really winds me up when people take advantage of him. He doesn't mind, but I find my attitude toward them becoming very…not nice. So, yes. Forgiveness – even when someone treats someone you love in a way that makes you seethe.
    Blessings Lyric. Thanks for being so open about yourself.
    Sandy in the UK

  • Reply
    December 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Some people are very narrow minded. It's too bad that they also feel it is OK to direct negative and nasty words at others.
    I think the gift of forgiveness is surely the most difficult.

  • Reply
    Crooked Gulley Art Quilts - Mary Couch
    December 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I helped a single elderly lady get 4 hours down the road to a hospital for a major operation. Friends picked her up 5 days later and got her home. Together we are all looking in on her and making sure all is going well. I can't imagine the courage it took for her to do this… But she knew we would all jump in to help. Just feels good to do good… and that's our reward!
    Hugs from Mary

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