Banner photo credit: Larry Mars
Diagnosed Mortal #14
In this episode I delicately dip my toe into the subject of atonement.
While as a culture we tend to not blame children for insensitivity, our transgressions when young do not disappear once acted out. They lie dormant and fester and it is cold comfort as an adult to shrug off memories of misdemeanors that will not let us be simply because we know our parents or friends would have forgiven us. We don't enter the world as human beings and develop relationships with people on a pledge of unconditional love . We fuck up...we bully...we judge...we get vengeful...we lash out. These things can happen when we are very young and there is no get out of being culpable card, really. What you can have is amazing group of forgiving friends and family who are not above recognizing that they too have crossed the line in trying to leverage some balance in their life while growing up. I was extremely fortunate to have landed in a hand-basket of these types of people. That is not true for many whose transgressions strangle their lives with age.
If there is anyone who owes these people an apology, it is me AND I forgive myself and all my friends for transgression and trespass. Tabula Rasa. This is different from my being granted forgiveness by something or someone outside of me. This is absolution via revelation and humility. I mean, holy hell whom among any of us wasn't horribly misinformed and who didn't have generations of sorrows to carry forward in an attempt to live as a loving person? Not many...certainly not the freaks and geeks on the fringes of convention where I hung out. There is considerably more trouble to get into on the edges of life and that is where you find the restless hearts. That is where you find the strong ones, should they live long enough to stay among us...those who can make medicine and put it to good use.
As an aged person I recognize what I could not see for most of my life and that is that I signed on for this time in this world and there is medicine and healing to be achieved in atonement and reparation that is beyond what might be immediately apparent. It is as it has always been; for all of our evolutionary shifts and changes, human beings are essentially luminescent at our core. How to touch this radiance is all too often way too simple for most people to accept...mostly because we have received too little. Access is kindness, especially when we least want to give it. This is the most powerful act of love we can channel into this world.
Deathy tip: We are born to make messes and to be unable to clean them up when we are young. It is how we respond to our history that determines the cut of our jib. Consider absolving your youthful transgressions as you would any child...before last call.
My music video choice: CCR is not my favorite band by any stretch but, like certain songs and seasons of life, they resonate a certain tone of the time. AND... This song always reminds me of my carefree California days. Also, um...a young John Fogerty? Smiles. (Yes, Ms. Obvious...) Memories of summer, boys and the caravans of cars and motorcycles through the Humboldt county of my youth as my friends and I terrorized the quiet, rural folk out there with our strange music and behaviors. We were not seeking anything, we were pushing our way out to lay claim to the world. The world has been pushing back and banging on our doors to sell us sorrows ever since. We are here to atone, discern, and hold open the front door and welcome with encouragement the future waves of innovative youths arriving to make some messes of their own.
For the curious: this Blogpost explains my motivation and intention for this series of 20 essays in the Diagnosed Mortal series.