Songs of Nature

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Day 24

Written By Eyleen Farmer

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson, Hawkeye Nature Photography


Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? and why are you so disquieted within me? —Psalm 42:6

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson; copyright 2010I knew a man once, who, as he was dying, told me again and again about his days as a bodyguard to a World War II general. In this assignment he rubbed shoulders with top brass and was privy to sensitive information. It gave him a view of the war not ordinarily available to an enlisted man. He seemed obsessed with this part of his life, and I could understand why his family had long since grown weary of his war stories.

There was a part of his story though that he had never told before. During one battle, with bullets flying and his friends lying dead or wounded all around him, he had covered himself with the dead body of a fellow soldier. This happened when he was a frightened young man of twenty, but the memory still haunted the guilt-ridden man of eighty.

Can anything be heavier than the crowd of hurts we’ve carried for decades? Can anything be more disquieting than the heart’s inability to forgive? Whether the hurts are ones we’ve inflicted or ones we’ve suffered, whether our grievances are with ourselves or with someone else, these are terrible burdens. Holding on to them can feel like there is a barbed wire fence running right through the middle of the heart. On one side is the self we wish we were; on the other the deeply wounded person we actually are.

Most of us can agree that forgiveness, of others and of ourselves, is a good thing. The hard part comes when we ask how? How do we loose the bonds that keep us tied to the past, that keep our hearts hard and angry?

There are no easy answers, but asking the question is a good place to start. Asking the question is, in fact, nothing less than heroic. Wherever you are with forgiveness, no matter how wronged you feel or how long you’ve nursed a wound, and no matter how beyond forgiveness you believe yourself to be, know that your intention to forgive is supported by all the spiritual powers of the universe. If you don’t yet even want to forgive, you can begin by wanting to want to. God can use the tiniest seed of intention to work a mighty miracle.

When my friend pulled the body of a fallen soldier over his own, he had already been shot six times. Availing himself of whatever meager cover was available probably saved his life. I for one am so grateful that he did.

Merciful God, help me to forgive all that is unresolved in my heart! Amen.