My friend’s 90 year old father, Charlie is on his death bed. He was a hard man in his younger days, bossy and aggressive, and my friend hated the way he treated her mother who died ten years earlier. Still she confesses, “I massage him several times a day. I shave him, feed him…I am giving him everything I’ve got.” She has taken some of his favourite plaid shirts and turned them into bags that she can take to the grocery store after he passes.
Another friend called me yesterday to tell me that her husband, Bill has stage 4 lung cancer. It has been devastating news for her and her 20 year old daughter. “He doesn’t want any fuss made, no flowers or visits”, she says. “He’s stoic about it all. He’s accepted his fate.” “Yes”, I reply, “but have you?” “I don’t know Grace”, she sobs. She explains that she doesn’t know whether to fight the cancer and research alternatives to save him or whether to let go and enjoy whatever time he has left with her.
People are dying. Time is up. What is life anyway, I find myself thinking. A classroom. We need to learn as much as we can while we’re here. About Love. About Relationships. About Forgiveness. Sue has been estranged from her mother for over twenty years. After working on her childhood issues with me, she is finally ready to open the door to her mother. That’s progress. That’s the classroom of life–learning to forgive; restoring love and goodwill; letting go of fear; and silencing the Ego.
Redemption. This is the word I want to offer you in 2014. This is what our world needs right now. Redemption—an opportunity to heal, make holy an ancient hatred.
“I really wish that my mother would appear to him in a dream,” my friend writes me in an email. “He is not certain of her love and forgiveness. Hell, I’m not certain she has forgiven him!” “Your mom will be there to greet Charlie”, I write back. “There was love between them once—that memory doesn’t fade even after death, even with all the hurt. Love is the most powerful force in the Universe. At the spiritual level all is forgiven. It is only Love that remains. Your mother will be there to greet her Charlie with open arms.”
According to the dictionary Redemption is “an opportunity to repair and restore; to free from captivity; to release from blame or debt.” All of us carry hurts. And then we put those who hurt us in jail. Release them. It’s time. It’s a new year. Wipe the slate clean in 2014.