Okay, so a few months ago I posted a blog regarding the Christian virtues, or graces, that we are to “clothe” ourselves in, and your responses were very helpful – and honest, which I love. (Here’s the link if you missed it, or want to add a thought). Since then I have been writing furiously on the virtues listed in Colossians 3:12, along with a bunch of other aspects that go with how to practically put these virtues “on”. All of which will help get me to my goal of 50,000 words. Yes, writing is that romantic.
And since this book has managed to coil its tendrils around every waking moment of my consciousness I have all but ignored my blog, something my friends remind me of every day (probably because they’re the only ones who read it, or sincerely believe others do…)
So, I’m posting an excerpt on forgiveness from the book that will be out in May of 2011, if I don’t first die from staring at my computer screen.
I was making a homemade pasta sauce out of vine ripened cherry tomatoes, fresh garlic and zucchini on Valentines Day (or Galentines Day as my friend, Paige, likes to refer to it. Horrifically cheesy I know, but strangely comforting to be able to reclaim the day for the singles of my gender). The recipe called for fresh or canned artichoke hearts, but there was some silent alarm of compromise that signaled me at the thought of buying something canned for my otherwise from scratch meal. I knew that none of my dinner guests would know if I cut a canned artichoke corner here or there, but I figured if I was going to go to the trouble of rolling out my homemade semolina pasta dough, I would learn how to cut a fresh artichoke in a way that laid bare its prized heart.
This was possibly one of the greatest errors of my young-adult life. After widdling away the pointy leaves of four artichokes I think I came away with enough “quartered” hearts for one guest to have one sliver in one bite. Before sautéing these little remnants I treasured them in a bowl of lemon juice, like they were on the endangered species list, because – who knew – artichoke hearts oxidize immediately. I don’t think I’ve ever coddled a food more, perhaps besides pinenuts, which can cost you a day’s wage if you over broil them. I “supplemented” with the silly cans.
But for all my defeat, I found scraping the furry little choke out of the center of the heart soothingly therapeutic. This may reveal I need other forms of therapy, but at the very least I liked the image of ridding a valuable delicacy of its thistly center. Forgiveness can be much the same way: there is often a lot of peeling away of layers. We find ourselves rejoicing with one discarded leaf of bitterness here and another of anger there, while still recognizing we’ve a few more of revenge and gossip to go. If we’re intent on seeking the Bible for its healing truths, we’ll find it as smart as a paring knife, sharp enough to discern the motives and desires of our heart. Which is essential when walking through forgiveness.
If you will indulge me with the artichoke analogy for one more paragraph (really just trying to get my wasted-artichoke money’s worth) it has been my experience, that even after shedding my enemy of all his/her wrongs I’ve been hanging onto, the whole thing eventually comes down to one prickly center – the core of the wound. It might be rejection, abandonment, betrayal, slander, loss of innocence, but whatever it is you will always know it. It will be the ugliest and most difficult piece to reconcile, and it will be the last thing to stand between you and the glory of a cleansed heart. It will take the grace of God to scrape the thing out, but it will be worth every supernatural release if we will allow Him to do it – and you can take that straight to the lemon juice bowl. (I just went too far, didn’t I?)