Healing Wounds

I just bought some spoons on Ebay. No big deal, you might think. But to me it is a big deal. Not that the spoons were very expensive; they weren’t. Not that I’ve been looking for them for years and finally found them – I identified what I needed and found them in a matter of hours. The big deal is, really, why I didn’t do so years ago.

You see, I’ve done without those spoons for a good ten years now. Each time I wanted to set my table for company, I had to mix flatware patterns – my own Oneida Yankee Clipper and a very different design inherited from my father. Often, I would opt for consistency and use his flatware, always with a “noodge” of anger that I was not setting the table to my personal taste.

You may be wondering why my own set of flatware was missing spoons. Is my answer explicit enough when I say that well in the past I shared my living space with a heroin addict?

I didn’t know the name of my own flatware pattern. I did look on line at one time for current Oneida styles and didn’t see anything resembling my set. But more relevantly, I clearly wasn’t ready to let go of the anger and resentment that flared every time I needed a spoon and had to hunt through the drawer for “my”one remaining spoon to stir my coffee or to serve up my morning yogurt.

I’ve been processing my relationship with anger during morning walks. There are a couple other circumstances that also bring up a bitter resentment, if I let myself think about the ugly behavior of the individuals involved. So mostly I don’t dwell on them. Fortunately  – or not – the other two people who can trigger my anger do not have spoons or forks or clothing or any tangible item in my household to bring them to mind. I can successfully not think of them for days or weeks at a time.

My morning walking contemplation has centered around what aspect of my ego is so determined to hang onto anger? And what aspect of my better self is being suppressed by my ego? I don’t have answers I can put into words. I can only look at the answer that emerged as my actions this evening – Google Oneida flatware, patiently go through the 25 pages of options on the Find My Pattern website, give a quiet Eureka! when I came to Yankee Clipper, then Google that pattern and find several lots of spoons for sale quite reasonably on Ebay. They’re ordered and should arrive within a week. No more resentment when I want a spoon in the morning, nor when I next set the table for company. How simple – yet clearly not simple or it wouldn’t have taken me so very many years to do.

Now I need to open my mind and heart, to be shown what similar steps will allow me to let go of the other two nubs of resentment which are much more recent, and do not have tangible “fixes” to implement. Righteous anger has its place. Not all actions can or should be forgiven. Deciding what is and what is not forgivable is a very individual and personal task. Maybe the best one can expect of oneself is to set the irritant (and the person if that is the source of the irritation) aside and move on.

Looking out for the small cottontail rabbit who has been hanging out where I walk, enjoying the play of sun and cloud over the mountains, greeting the neighbors who drive past me in the mornings, being present with the moment are all preferable to dwelling on what an angry voice would say to those who have abused me, should we meet once more. I can’t do anything about them being who and what they are. I can choose what I give my attention and energy to. I’m happy to choose purchasing spoons and savoring my surroundings as I walk.

Note: I wanted to post a picture of my Yankee Clipper spoons but haven’t yet sorted out how to import and store a photo on Chromebook. So much to learn, so little time to learn it.


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2 Responses to “Healing Wounds”

  1. Kip Allen Says:

    I was so pleased that you had tackled the challenge of the spoons and had come up with such a freeing solution. The whole question of forgiveness may lie at the very core of what it means to be a human being.

    You write that not all actions can or should be forgiven. Certainly, our societies as we have shaped them make the distinction between “justice” and “mercy.” In Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, Portia makes the case for mercy and a natural forgiveness; but then, with a brutal irony, Shylock is punished to such an extreme we can only gasp at the ferocity of it.

    What actions should or should not be forgiven? What is the nature of forgiveness? Surely it is a heart-based state or event. It has nothing to do with, say, Tetzell’s selling of indulgences — a con-man selling forgiveness of sin to anyone who could pay. (Martin Luther was enraged. it was Tetzell’s money-grubbing, hypocritical spiel that helped Luther to choose faith and not good works as his cornerstone.)

    How does one measure forgiveness? What if any and all things could be forgiven? Do we grow into forgiveness? Out of it? What happens when we really forgive? What happens when we don’t? Is forgiveness a learned discipline?

    Another Shakespeare quote: Toward the end of this colossal play, Lear says to his daughter Cordelia, “When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down and ask of thee forgiveness.”

    There seems to be a recognition of oneself in another, at least as a starting point.

    I’ll end at the beginning. Remember Swarthmore’s HAMBURG SHOW song? “And we’ll all stick together / through rain and stormy weather / ’cause we’re gonna see the whole thing through.”

    • chelawriter Says:

      Thank you for the long and thoughtful comment, really a post in its own right, with as many questions as answers. Do you know, is the Hamburg song still part of Swarthmore culture? I had come to the point of recognizing that it’s up to the person’s who mistreated me to approach me looking for a change in our relationship before I c/would consider letting the change happen. Rather like your perfect cite from Lear, you do X and I will then do Y. Happily, one of the two people has started to change behavior, showing a better side, so I can hope things there may improve. And I see in my optimism about the shift that forgiveness wants to emerge. That feels good.

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