Note: This blog is the intellectual property of Patti J. Smith, and any quotation of part or all of it without her approval is illegal.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Thirty-three hours of enlightenment

Doe Zantamata once said, “Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.”  Those ten words best convey a recent cathartic experience. 
Last week, I spent some quality time with my brother and his family and attended the wedding of my great niece.  Months prior, I perused all the usual on-line travel sites for flights to Oregon.  Reviewing the schedules, I shuddered thinking about being on a jam-packed airplane with no leg room, having to share an armrest and snacking on stale peanuts for the three and a half hour flight.  I booked a flight, but only one way.  Instead of flying home, I decided to do something I’d never done before …. take Amtrak in a roomette.
All I can say about the “long way home,” is it was the most enlightening thirty-three hours in my life.  I shared meals in the dining car with other passengers, but the majority of time was spent in my cozy retreat, staring out the window and reflecting (along with taking a gazillion pictures and posting them on Facebook). 
The past few years had been full of challenges, to say the least the loss of my parents, and a close friend, and a betrayal by someone I loved and trusted.  To combat the heart-break, I did what I always do … keep busy to avoid feeling.  Every once in a while, a few feelings would slip out, but I am adept at plugging the dam before it collapses.
That game ended in the solitude of the roomette.  All the pent up emotions came to the surface.  Tears of grief, righteous anger and anguish poured out.  It was a baptism of sorts….my soul cleansed and my mind cleared.  The veil of darkness lifted, and I was able to see the sun (or should I say “Son”).  Denying the pain delayed my reaching acceptance and seeing all the goodness and blessings in my life but most of all obstructed my feeling the love and compassion of God.   

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Resisting the Replay

We are all sinners; we are human, after all. Turning back the hands of time to reverse our words or actions is impossible.  All we can do is make amends and ask for forgiveness.  That’s all well and good; however, how many times do we receive forgiveness from God and others yet still wallow in guilt by recounting the transgressions in our minds?  Why is it so easy to give forgiveness than to accept? 
Being an overachiever in the mistake department, I struggled with that acceptance for many years.  Why?  Because I could not forgive myself.  No matter how hard I tried to move on, I continued to browbeat myself unmercifully ... avoiding, out of shame, the person(s) harmed and isolating from God ... feeling unworthy to be in His presence.
Now, whenever tempted to dwell on past transgressions, I play a little mind game.  I picture Satan with a DVD of my failings.  He’s cackling and sneering while continually hitting the replay button …  an evil attempt to imprison me in guilt and remorse, separating me from loved ones and distancing me from God.  Seeing that image puts everything in perspective and puts a smile on my face. I'm able to laugh and say,  “You’re playing a blank disk, Satan ... God already hit the delete button.”

 Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. 
I said, “I confess my transgression to the LORD,” and you
 took away the guilt of my sin.
(Psalm 32:5)