A History Lesson

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us…

From Psalm 79:8

A recent gathering reminded me of just how much I’ve forgotten. When a family member reminded me of a childhood incident which she thought had devastated me, I was hard-pressed to recall what had actually happened. Fortunately for me, I usually let these things go. The scar left by this particular injury faded into nothingness long ago.

I admit that there are a very few unpleasant memories which remain close to the surface. Though I never dwell on them, they do induce goosebumps or a queasy stomach if I give them the time of day. I never choose to think about these things. Still, a single word sometimes evokes memories which I cannot control. At times such as these, I take a deep breath and look upward. It helps to know that God knows my pain even better than I do.

We all add to our personal histories with every breath we take. This is no problem when joy accompanies those breaths. Unfortunately, the realities of this life include both good and bad events. It seems to me that the best we can do is to learn from them all. When someone or something hurts us, we try never to impose the same pain on others. When something brings us joy, we find ways to bring similar joy to those we have been given to love.

Loving God, thank you for walking with us as we make history with one another as best we can.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Forgives It All…

All, from the least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:34

A friend recently shared some regret which has remained with her since childhood. I understood her pain because I was a fairly sensitive child when it came to wrong-doing. Though I was no more or less guilty or innocent than most little children, I took even the smallest reprimand to heart. Every time, though the adult who corrected me had quickly forgotten whatever I’d done, the guilt remained with me. All of this was my own doing. Neither of my parents nagged or belittled my siblings and me. Though a teacher may have given me reason to question my ability to be forgiven on rare occasion, this wasn’t the norm. Fortunately, I eventually came to understand -mentally, anyway- that those who love us don’t hold grudges against us. Still, my own propensity to hold on to my guilt remains with me to some extent even today.

This is the reason that I find consolation in the passage above from Jeremiah and in Jesus’ numerous parables which address forgiveness. Every word assures us of God’s absolute love and God’s absolute inability to be separated from any one of us. Though we may run away and bury our heads in the sand, God remains at our sides. We can never impose enough guilt upon ourselves to repel God’s love.

Loving God, help us to forgive ourselves just as you do. Only then will we be free to enjoy the comfort of your embrace.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Remember The Good

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us…

From Psalm 79:8

I know I’ve mentioned my selective memory before. Fortunately, I think, I’m usually hard-pressed to recall past events which might have devastated me. Somehow, I’ve managed to let these things go. Any scars left by them have faded into nothingness. I also have to admit that, occasionally, a select few unpleasant events from my past come to the surface. I don’t say “select” because I’ve chosen to remember them. Still, for reasons unknown to me, the slightest hint of these incidents induces goosebumps or a queasy stomach if I allow them my attention.

I truly believe that there is much joy to be found in the time we’re given on this earth. I also realize that the realities of this life include the good and the bad which we impart upon others and upon ourselves. It seems that the best we can do is to learn from our errors and the errors of others. When someone or something hurts us, we must resolve never to impose the same pain on another soul. When something brings us joy, we must find ways to bring similar joy to those around us.

Perhaps a selective memory can serve us all well. If we choose to let go of the negativity which comes our way, we free ourselves to forgive the perpetrator and to embrace the positive in our lives more fully. With arms full of joy, we can hardly help sharing that joy those we meet along the way.

Forgiving God, be with us as we share the goodness and dispel the evil which comes our way.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

You’ll Always Be The Best!

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.

Psalm 90:14

Bad days used to be a rarity for me. I was always surprised when I seemed to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. I’ve never figured out which side of the bed is the wrong side. Still, in spite of my ignorance in this regard, for several weeks I’d managed to find that wrong side more often than not. In the midst of this string of cranky days, a much-loved voice called unexpectedly. If Katie* and I were engaged via FaceTime, she would have seen that I was doing a happy dance as we spoke.

As it happened, my little dance was short-lived because Katie had some scary news to share. A head injury from years ago has taken its toll and her memory will be affected. Katie has a loving family including a grandchild which adds to her concern. Still, Katie remained upbeat as she voiced her resolve to be the best she can for as long as she can. As she spoke, I whispered prayers for Divine Intervention regarding the duration of her ability to be the best she can. I’ve done the same ever since. Katie has always been 100% good enough for me. Still, I understand her worry.

Though Katie likely thinks that I’m doing her a favor by praying on her behalf, she’s the one who’s performed the good deed. Her call broke the spell those bad days had cast upon me. Katie has been my most consistent and vocal fan since I began writing in the public forum 25 years ago. As we spoke that day, Katie’s deep faith in God’s care for her reminded me that God cares just as deeply for me. Yes, Katie, you’ll always be the best you can be!

Loving God, give Katie a miraculously long string of “best she can be” days and months and years.

*I’ve changed Katie’s name to protect her privacy.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Make History

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.

Psalm 79:8

A recent family gathering reminded me of just how much I’ve forgotten. When my cousin reminded me of a childhood incident which he thought had devastated me, I was hard-pressed to recall what had actually happened. Fortunately for me, I usually let these things go. The scar left by this particular injury faded into nothingness long ago. At the same time, I admit that there are a very few unpleasant memories which remain close to the surface. Though I never dwell on them, they do induce goosebumps or a queasy stomach if I give them the time of day. I never choose to think about these things. Still, a single word sometimes evokes their memories which I cannot control.

We all add to our personal histories with every breath we take. This is no problem when joy accompanies those breaths. Unfortunately, the realities of this life include both good and bad events. It seems to me that the best we can do is to learn from them all. When someone or something hurts us, we try never to impose the same pain on others. When something brings us joy, we find ways to bring similar joy to those we have been given to love.

Loving God, thank you for walking with us as we make history with one another as best we can.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Forgive and Move On

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.

Psalm 79:8

My selective memory often surprises me. When a family member or friend reminds me of a past event which might have devastated me, I am often hard-pressed to recall the incident. Somehow, I have managed to let these things go. The scars left by any injuries imposed faded into nothingness long ago. At the same time, there are a few unpleasant events from my past which remain close to the surface. They induce goosebumps or a queasy stomach whenever I give them the time of day. Though I never choose to think about these things, a single word sometimes evokes these memories which I cannot control.

You know, we add to our personal histories with every breath we take. Hopefully, there is joy to be found in most of the time we are given. Unfortunately, the realities of this life include the good and the bad which we impart upon others and upon ourselves. It seems to me that the best we can do is to learn from our errors. When someone or something hurts us, we must resolve never to impose the same pain on others. When something brings us joy, we must find ways to bring similar joy to those we have been given to love.

Forgiving God, you love us as we are, in spite of our ongoing failure to love one another. Help us to learn the lessons to be found in the goodness and evil around us and to respond with your compassion and love.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved