In 1994 Tony Hicks, a 14 year old gang member whose mother was living on the streets and addicted to crack cocaine, shot and killed Tariq Khamisa, a 20 year old college student working to deliver pizzas, in a botched holdup. Though he was a juvenile, he was sentenced as an adult to 25 years in prison. The father of Tariq Khamisa, Azim Khamisa, visited Tony in prison and found that there were victims “on both sides of the gun.” Choosing the path of being a forgiving person liberated Azim from a lifetime of anger and grief. You can find his story at this link:
In this brief video Azim explains how powerful it can be to be a forgiving person:
On Thursday of this week we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a day to “count your blessings;” in a word, a day to feel gratitude. Yet I think it can be very difficult to experience the feeling of gratitude while carrying resentments toward people who have hurt us. Anger, hatred, even grief are strong impediments to feeling grateful. Our journey to gratitude may first require a journey to being forgiving. It’s a long journey, this being forgiving business, but just being on the journey may be a relief in and of itself.
If you have resentments and old angers that get in the way of your gratitude this week, consider forgiveness, keeping in mind that it’s a process, not a single-point decision. It takes time, and over the years old resentments you thought you had released will return, just less powerful, less of a preoccupation.
Today’s meditation is a stress reliever, focusing on simple massages of the facial sinuses and muscles. I find it helpful to have a relaxed body if I am to get to a more peaceful mind. Perhaps you will too. Here are the video and audio of today’s meeting.
And I decided to read a poem at the end of the meditation. Here is the text of that poem:
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.
From “To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings” by John O’Donohue,