In the summer of 1999, on a beautiful country road in New York,I forgave my father.I was once again examining something he did and through grace finally saw the humor of it .With a laugh, I dropped my resentment in the grass.
This comes to mind because I meet with a lovely woman every three months to provide spiritual direction.We help each other to find where God is leading us.She struggles with issues of inferiority and when she describes the negative,wounding tape that plays in her mind,I remember.
In high school ,I played basketball for my school.I loved the game.So, my father set up a hoop on the back of my house.Many stars have been born from that type of set-up ,shooting and shooting til they could do it in their sleep.I was not one of them.My hoop was attached to the back wall of our house of red brick.So,you say ? Well, the bricks were uneven,fat,lopsided,impossible.How could you hit off that with any success ?Then, the dribbling area was grass and SLOPING,not flat.Are you with me?
So, as a player,I was fast but NEVER got the ball in the basket.I was the second best player,or third or fourth best (no wonder we lost often)with no hope of ever being the best.The best had a father who coached her and had a great place to practise.I also was a runner-up for a Regents Scholarship.This meant nothing to me since I was just a runner-up.Unworthy.Hair too stringy,too skinny,big teeth,on and on the review went and I always came up short in my mind.Another author has described the negative tape as the critic.
I have no idea when the tape stopped playing for me but it has. I think it has alot to do with my focus.As I have become more dedicated to prayer, my mind seems to have better things to do then excoriate.The positiveness of being with the Creator leaves less room for unimportant things like how I measure up to others.Once in a while a stray thought like"nobody likes you", comes careening in ,and it is as if my mind has stepped from one plane to another without my permission.It actually feels like a dart.I no longer invite the dart to sit awhile so it leaves and I wonder.
This joyous reading from today's Liturgy of the Hours speaks of this better place to me:
"They that are planted in the house of the Lord,they will flourish in the courts of our God.Still bearing fruit when they are old.Still full of sap,still green,to proclaim that the Lord is just ;in Him,my rock, there is no wrong."Ps 92:14-16