Monday, March 1, 2010


This Lent, I've begun stripping away the layers I've papered onto my soul. Days and months and years of anger, hurt feelings, resentment, disappointment, self-righteousness and even, at times, self-loathing have merged and combined into a thick mass. I hate the design; the pattern makes me ill. It's time for it to go.

This is a painstaking and tedious process. At times, it looks like whole sections will slide right off, and then the paper tears, and I get only one long strip, leaving a wide gash in the layers, revealing a glimpse of what is hidden beneath.

What comes through again and again, in bits and pieces, in strips and clumps, is my need for forgiveness.

Forgiveness for my sins, for my faults, for my failings, for all that I've done and for all the times I've failed to do what I should.

I need forgiveness and mercy, compassion and love.

But that's not all I need. I need to forgive, too.

This morning's words from The Master:
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven." (Lk. 6:36-37)

And I see. I see why stripping these layers is so difficult. The glue I've used to attach them: lack of forgiveness.

I can pick and scrape and yank and tug at the layers all day long, but until I dissolve the glue, they will never come off.

It's up to me. Am I willing to do it?

Are you?

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