“Forgive and Forget”. Why these two words should be always together? Is forgiving enough for you to move on? Tonight’s lecture was about relationship healing and discussed about how to get over with problems relating to relationship with the people around us.
According to the book of Sirach Chapter 3 which is entitled The Duties of Children to their Parents, Anyone who respects his father he atones for his sins. Anyone who respects his mother, one day his children will make him happy. Anyone who respects his father, his prayers are always heard.
Dec. 28, 2008, Feast of the Holy Family, Fr. Arlo remembered his homily about these verses. If you show respect to your parents, someday your children will also respect you. If you disrespect your parents however, your children will do the same. “What comes around, goes around”.
Let me share to you a story: There was an 80 year old man living with his 50 year old son and his 10 year old grandchild. The 50 year old son decided to bring the old man to the Home for the Aged since the latter became a burden to him. The 10 year old grandchild was with them while they were driving to the area. The 50 year old son became curious when he saw the child restlessly looking outside the window. He asked, “Son, why are you always looking outside? “. The child without hesitation responded, “Daddy, I am memorizing the directions so that when you got old too, I will bring you also to the Home for the Aged”. The 50 year old man came to his senses and drove back home. “What comes around, goes around”.
When we respect, our parents, we atone for our sins. This is true. This is reinforced by the 4th commandment, Honor your Father and your Mother.
Anyone who respects his father, his prayers are always heard. This is related to the Responsorial Psalm that day, “Prayer is like incense that goes up to heaven”. It was puzzling because there are no qualities of the parents mentioned in the verse. This signifies that whatever attribute your parents have, whether they are responsible or a burden, we should respect them. And if we show respect, it means that we are kind hearted. When we are kind hearted, we will have a lighter feeling. When we have a lighter feeling, our prayer will be like incense which goes up to heaven.
On the other hand, you might be wondering why are your prayers are not answered; the reason behind it is may be because you pray with a heavy heart. Prayers that are heavy cannot go up to heaven. It is hard to ask from God if you have a heavy heart.
So what makes your heart heavy? Number one cause is problem. The problem you are facing is not on that problem. Problem will be a problem depending on the handler. If you will recall what we have learned in day 1, that all of what we become is the product of what we thought. Thoughts become things. Problem mainly becomes a problem if we look at it as such. Remember that “It’s all in the mind”. As Fr. Arlo says it, “Don’t make problem problem you”. =) And problems have no exemptions. Whether you are rich or poor, young or old, with teeth or without teeth, problems occur. Others might think they have no problems but those people may be considered as problem by others.
Most of the people think problems come from money. But if you will contemplate on it, most of the time they come from relationship. All people are hurt by others, even Jesus was hurt by his friends. Do not be scandalized if there are intrigues in the church; do not be scandalized if there are politics in the church. Even between the apostles of Jesus Christ there are politics though they are hand-picked by the Lord. Jesus was also hurt when he was abandoned by his apostles, when he was crucified on the cross. In order to get through with your problems, we need to take control of your thoughts because at the end of the day you are still accountable for yourself. At this point in time, if you feel hurt inside, learn to forgive.
Forgive those persons who hurt you the most. According to the song “Be Gentle” by Jose Mari Chan, “There is no peace on an angry heart and if you want to live you must forgive”. It is important that you remove the bad feeling to the people who hurt you the most and you can achieve this if you forgive.
There were times that even the body manifests the bad feeling. Fr. Arlo shared about a lady teacher who goes to the toilet 15-30 times a day for 14 years. Imagine that during her discussions to her class, it is usually interrupted because she needs to go to the toilet. It all begun when she had a boy friend that normally go to their house but her mother was so bitter to him. The guy finally called it off and decided to marry another woman. The lady teacher got angry to her mother even until her mother died. By attending the healing retreat, she learned to forgive her mother. For the first time in 14 years her sickness was healed.
It is essential that we decide to forgive emotionally prepared or not. The key word is DECIDE. If you say that you will forgive when you are ready, that event will never happen. If you say that you will forgive if the time is right, that time will never happen. You need to decide to forgive.
Forgive those events. You must forgive any event that hurt you the most. Most of us have the notion that forgiveness only includes persons. Wrong! Events like the flood event resulted by the Typhoon Ondoy, accident, somebody died in the family or disability are painful events that we need to forgive. If your mother in law died, that event is pleasant event. =)
To illustrate, last 1992, Fr. Arlo had an accident. He went to Baguio with other priests to attend a retreat. He was driving at120 kph and felt asleep in San Manuel, Tarlac, the car rolled 2 times and turned upside down. He suffered dislocation of the bones on the hips. Despite of this painful experience, Fr. Arlo decided to forgive the accident. Now he is not driving 120 kph anymore, he drives 160 kph, but the fear and the pain of the event is no longer inside him. Forgive Typhoon Ondoy even he is not your relative. =) If you have bad experiences with your parents, promise to yourself that you will never do the same. Those events are out of your control and it is crucial that you forgive them.
Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself specially your wrong doings in life. Forgive yourself if your marriage turned sour. Forgive yourself if your marriage failed. Don’t be saddle about the matter, just forgive yourself. Some women who have a miscarriage tend to blame themselves of what happen. But by forgiving yourself, you will have freedom from the pain you are carrying.
Forgive God. There were times that we blame the Lord on the problems or sufferings that we have. If somebody died in the family, we get angry and ask the Lord why he let it happened. Some cancer patients are so bitter to the Lord that they question His works. Forgive God, you may not understand it today, tomorrow or next year but God has plans for all of us which soon you’ll realize. He only wants the best for us; all you need to do is believe.
Decide to Forget. After forgiveness you should decide to forget. Most of the time, it is easier to say I forgive than to say I forget. In forgetting, it does not mean that you will not remember what happen. According to the song of Joey Albert, “I remember the boy, but I don’t remember the feeling anymore”. You still remember the person but the hurt is not there anymore. You can say that you truly forgive the person or event if you decided to forget the pain you felt.
Say Thank You. Saying thank you is another significant topic to complete the picture. Appreciate the people who made your life easier. If you have money, you know that you have friends. But if you don’t have money anymore, you will know who your friends are. You should find time to thank these people.
“Anyone who thinks, thanks”. If you are not saying thank you, you are not thinking. If you are not praying before and after you eat, you are not thinking. Make it a habit to say thank you. Be grateful to all the people that are there for you. Be grateful for all the blessings you receive.
Action speaks louder than words, ALMOST. Action speaks louder than words until Fr. Arlo realized that it is not always the case. Frida Manrique, breast cancer patient for 10 years was attended by Fr. Arlo for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Sonny Manrique, her husband takes a leave to look after his wife. They saw Manny carrying her wife on the wheel chair and feed her so lovingly, enjoying each other. They found the genuine love of husband to his wife that time. And after 10 days, Frida died. Fr. Arlo have the mass for her and let Sonny say something. Sonny said, “My only regret in my life is that I never said I love you often enough to her”. Never underestimate the power of words. Never take too light the power of saying I love you and Thank you.
May 2001, Sunday, Fr. Arlo went to Dangwa to buy 3 dozens of roses for Mother’s Day. He went to their home in Tagaytay and saw his mom on the wheel chair. He said, “Mom, I just want to greet you Happy Mother’s Day”. He hugged and said I love you and thank you even though he was not used doing it. And it felt good. He cherished that day with her. May 29, 2001, she died. And every time he hear the song Sometimes by Karen Carpenter, he remember that great memory with her mother.
Here are the lyrics.
by Karen Carpenter
Sometimes not often enough
We reflect upon the good things
And those thoughts always center around those we love
And I think about those people who mean so much to me
And for so many years have made me so very happy
And I count the times I have forgotten to say ‘thank you’
And just how much I love them
There are people who hurt us, forgive and forget. Say thank you to the people who make our life easier. There is nothing to lose if you say it.
Forgive and Forget and give thanks to God.
Look at a nylon cord. As often as we used it, you will notice that it has loose ends. Like healing in relationship, we need to have a closure on both ends. We have to decide that there should be closure. A closure by deciding to forgive and forget and start a new beginning. A decision to forgive and forget in order to move on. We also need a closure by saying thank you and I love you. Expressing gratitude to one another makes a lighter feeling.
Healing in relationship calls on forgiveness and forgetting as well as expressing gratitude to one another. Through these, we will be complete and we will have a lighter feeling. And when we pray, all our prayers will be like an incense going up to heaven.
While hearing the song “Sometimes”, the people in the crowd were sobbing including Fr. Arlo. It was a very wonderful experience. You will feel the power of forgiveness and gratitude in the place. And healing really takes its place in each and every one of us. I will never forget the great feeling that night. You will feel that the Holy Spirit is there accompanying us.
Reflection: Are there people who hurt your feelings, when will you decide to forgive and forget? Have you often say “thank you” to the people who makes your life easy? Decide to forgive and forget and say thank you before it’s too late.