Friday, February 16, 2007

Father Freeze and Forgiveness – a rather odd combination

"Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another's control... to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare."
~Lance Morrow~

OK, so Lance did not know my Dad, neither did Father Freeze. Neither of them knew how stubborn I am either. It is probably a good thing for both.

The priest that said the Mass of burial for my father was ROMAN CATHOLIC. No doubt in any fashion, he knew the rules of the faith and he was going to follow them. I learned at a very early age that the rules of that religion did not suit my faith as it was developing and had clearly chosen other thought processes to occupy my time while in school. (Yes Becky that is how those grades you found came to be – I deliberately chose not to pay attention.) I had thought that God was much bigger than the rules and tenants of the Roman Catholic faith. God loved everyone and the thought that some of my non-Catholic friends would go to Hell because they were Jewish, Protestant or Episcopal simply did not make sense to me. Surely the Indians of Peru did not need to become Roman Catholic to go to the Great Maker. I thought I read that they were very reverent people – surely the care of the earth and respect for life was what God wanted from us all. I saw at a very early age the universal part of religion and never quite left that thought behind.

So as the Mass planning progressed I realized that there would be no Joy in Who-ville at that service. I realized in complete affirmation why I am no longer a Roman Catholic and just had to decide how abiding I was going to be. By all rights I could receiver Communion because I was Baptized Catholic. Somehow that solidarity did not bode well with the guiding voice from within that day.

I was sad for Fr. Freeze and I was sad that Dad had raised us to think for ourselves and had to be handed off to eternity by a man that did not have an original thought or way to express Resurrection into eternity to a grieving family.

God Bless my sister. She smuggled Jesus to Becky who was reduced to a mass of tears by the statement that the Body and Blood of Jesus was for Catholics ONLY and the rest of us could stay in our seats. Forget the blessing of the heathens – we were chastised and left to rot in the pews.

So my children – they were also raised to think for themselves – finished singing every verse of the exit hymn and then got in their respective cars and called a priest who understood thinking and celebration of Resurrection.
Good for them I say – Good for them. Lance was being proven correct:
“Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare.”

My children understand forgiveness in totality. It may take a few days to process the forgiveness to completion, but when all is done, they are free. There may, at times, be well placed comments about stupid choices or actions done by others to them or their friends; but generally when they are done forgiving life continues at its regular pace.

I knew that I had to forgive Fr. Freeze before the end of the day. I had enough to handle and carting that man along every step of the way was more validation than he deserved. He needed to be left in the pew.

So today, in my head, that is where Fr. Freeze is sitting, in a pew waiting for the Joy of Resurrection to be delivered to him. I only hope that every time he has to say a Mass of burial for a family he hears the haunting sobs of my daughter and the heat fails to work.

My God is an awesome God.
My God is a big God.
My God is a strong God.
My God loves everyone even Fr. Freeze.
My God made us all to celebrate life and the lives of those we love.

So tonight as you rest your head on the pillow – think about being finished with the things, actions and activities that were not working so well for you. Say, “I am pretty much done with that, moving along now, different horizons to see, different ideas to think, and different people to love. I am free to do this. God loves me and wants me to love others the same way He loves me.”

See how you feel in the morning. I bet you walk straighter and I bet your feet feel lighter because you are not carrying the past anger with you as you traverse the world.

Walk gently and leave nothing but footprints. That is what Lance, God and my Dad would have wanted.



Dawn Kramer ( said...

Dear Fran,
Your post was just beautiful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

And All Gods Children (and Fran's too) said


Anonymous said...

let it be known the youngest and most heathen daughter ate communiun from Fr. Freeze's own hands. God Bless his little heart.
Mom is right. Grandpa raised us better. So did she.
And know I know where I get my academic defiance from...
much love,
the youngest

Where fibers meet mud said...

Indeed one and all must know that the names have been changed to protect the innocent.