Screaming, then silence: what hat-wearing llamas taught me about forgiveness.

16 Dec

As I once again reduce the entire meaning of my existence to a handful of cardboard boxes, I’ve thought about the last few years of my life in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I’ve fallen in love.

I’ve fallen in lust.

I’ve just fallen face-planted.

I’ve been wronged.

I.guess.i.can.grudgingly.admit.that.i’ve.wronged.others

And “I’m a big girl,” I like to say, with my tongue pressed firmly to cheek. “I’ve moved on. I can handle this. I have forgiven.”

But that’s a lie. As my two favorite llamas demonstrated to me in the following video:

 

I see engagement announcements from my ex-fiance, when I’m still receiving “Tell Us About Your First Year Of Marriage And Win A Second Honeymoon!” promotional emails, and I want to scream. Not because of any residual feelings left for him (because I assure you they do not exist) – but sheer anger and frustration at stealing my happy ending, and leaving me in the lurch back in Tulsa picking up pieces and scrambling to find a new normal, by myself, hundreds of miles from home.

And every now and then, the ghosts of arguments past will sneak up behind me and jab me in the heart with their hurtful words I can’t ever un-hear. Some of the refrains have come up more than once.

“You can’t be what I need.”

“I just want to be friends.”

“This was a mistake.”

Variations on the age-old theme of You Aren’t Enough. 

And these words don’t send me spiraling into a cloud of morose emo groveling – because Pride and I are well acquainted – they make me angry. Oh so very angry.

I cringe when I remember things I said to people while flying off my hot-tempered handle, things that are probably hurting them to this day, and that I so desperately want to crawl to and beg, beg, beg forgiveness. But I can’t.

And I thought I had forgiven them, and forgiven myself. I did.

I was defining forgiveness as “Gee, I no longer want to commit homicide when his name is mentioned.” Which is, you know, a radical improvement on some counts.

But when I was kneeling in the confessional last week, crying and pouring my broken, wounded heart out to the priest, and facing the consequences of some decisions I have no one to blame for but myself, and other decisions that I had no say in whatsoever. . .I heard a quiet voice in my heart.

That is what forgiveness sounds like.

Screaming, then silence.

All through mass, it’s the only thing I could think about. And when I went forward to receive communion, I heard it again.

That is what forgiveness sounds like.

Screaming, then silence.

I knelt down in the aisle, and cried again. We’re talking, two sobs away from ugly cry.

Because I wanted to forgive not just the new and the recent and the fresh, but to chase down the ugly tangled leftover roots of unforgiveness left behind, and destroy them, too.

I wanted them to drown.

And for the first time, I could do that. Because the beauty of the Sacrament is that the Eucharist, if you let it, is like a form of divine regeneration. It restores the broken and the tarnished and the scared and the bitter and transforms you into something new, something beautiful, something Christlike. Something very much you at your core with all your memories, and your hopes and your dreams – but very much different. Something holy.

And in that moment, I found silence.

 

 

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13 Responses to “Screaming, then silence: what hat-wearing llamas taught me about forgiveness.”

  1. Lisa December 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    well, THANKS A LOT for making me CRY at WORK!!! Carl!

  2. The Licensed Fool December 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    That was beautiful. I pray the Lord lifts all the residual pain, frustration and anger from you and just grants you the peace and joy that only he can. I know that sounds trite but I really mean it.

    Peace be with you.
    LF

  3. Maui December 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Very eloquent and beautifully said!

  4. Katy December 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Wow! Very beautiful!

  5. Kathleen December 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Wow, Kassie… Just…wow.

    I want to leave a whole comment about broken engagements and humbling pride, and I know that’s not the point…you made your point so powerfully, and so honestly. Hugs to you, girl.

  6. Julie Robison December 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    Oh lamas. How they clarify everything!

  7. Calah Michelle Alexander December 17, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    I love you, Kassie.

  8. priestswife December 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    just have to say- have a BLESSED Christmas- you deserve it!

  9. Rae December 26, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    And this is beauty. Who ever would have thought it would look like this?! Happy Christmas to you. I hope that you continue to know silence in the very best form.

  10. priest's wife (@byzcathwife) April 7, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    HHHHHHHeeeeeeEEEEELLLLLOOOOOoooooOOOOOO

    Happy Easter- we all hope all is well!

  11. Susan McKenzie (@HeartScribes) March 26, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    I love how this ends… “Because the beauty of the Sacrament is that the Eucharist, if you let it, is like a form of divine regeneration. It restores the broken and the tarnished and the scared and the bitter and transforms you into something new, something beautiful, something Christlike. Something very much you at your core with all your memories, and your hopes and your dreams – but very much different. Something holy.”

    And then there is silence… this is deeply meaningful! For in the silence so much is known, without words. That it’s okay, all of it, all of you…

    Beautiful writing from a beautiful heart!

  12. Beth March 30, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Screaming, then silence. Yes. Thank you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bless Me, Father « Secret Vatican Spy - July 3, 2012

    […] had a few experiences in the confessional that my Totus Tuus teammates now lovingly (as I tell myself) describe as […]

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