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May 29th, 2003

love, devotion, surrender, and forgiveness

Thank you to the many people who joined the "100 poems" project. I like it when journals that I already read join in with my journal.

As May ends, I'm facing a quite busy June and July. I'm eager to get things done, and take names, and organize, and solve.
But I stop this morning to reflect on things I could do better, and could have done better. Rather than putting together yet another gurdondark post about my manifold sins and wickedness, which I mostly humbly do confess (the memory of them being grievous unto me), I thought I'd play with the idea of sin and forgiveness in a rather lightweight poll. I am never certain if the words in this context really capture the idea:"sin", "mistake", "error", "right", "wrong", "forgiveness". The various overlays of differing religious/non-religious perspectives and the fact that no two people seem to use the words in the same way always throw me a bit. But I think that it's a good thing to focus on how to improve, and in particular, how to forgive. I don't have any words of wisdom on this, really, but I do have a poll. I'm not after any dire revelations, here, but I think sometimes it's good to think about what happened, and how to remedy what happened.

Poll #139543 I left my nobility on the subway with the newspaper

What thing in your life are you least proud about?

A violation of a friend's trust
8(20.5%)
My betrayal of my own potential
14(35.9%)
A serious error which limited my life
3(7.7%)
A slow, creeping failure to achieve all I've meant to do
9(23.1%)
A simple sin committed casually, regretted eternally
5(12.8%)

Which of the following have you experienced?

forgiveness for a wrong I never thought I'd receive
0(0.0%)
Unfair blame for something not my fault
5(12.8%)
A horrendous tunnel of moral ambiguity, poisoning a friendship
1(2.6%)
A just comeuppance for my silly pretension
3(7.7%)
A surprising amount of patience with my impatient ways
7(17.9%)

Without being so specific that you invade (your own or someone else's) privacy, whom do you need to forgive that you've carried a grudge about for far too long?

What percentage of your day to day emotions derive more or less from guilt?

Mean: 21.03 Median: 15 Std. Dev 20.17
0(0.0%)
0
5(12.8%)
5
6(15.4%)
10
5(12.8%)
15
7(17.9%)
20
4(10.3%)
25
1(2.6%)
30
3(7.7%)
35
0(0.0%)
40
1(2.6%)
45
1(2.6%)
50
4(10.3%)
55
0(0.0%)
60
0(0.0%)
65
1(2.6%)
70
0(0.0%)
75
0(0.0%)
80
0(0.0%)
85
0(0.0%)
90
1(2.6%)
95
0(0.0%)
100
0(0.0%)

There are things in life that seem unforgivable. But do you have a feeling about your own power to forgive?

I feel I forgive, or not forgive, with justice and mercy
8(20.0%)
I wish I could forgive so many things, but I can't
6(15.0%)
I forgive freely--maybe too freely
11(27.5%)
I feel sick until I can reconcile myself, and if possible, forgive
8(20.0%)
don't ask me to forgive, just pray that I forget
7(17.5%)

If there is one stranger or group of strangers whose pain I could remove with some personal miraculous gift, it would be:

What flaws do you wish you could change about yourself?

I would be more happy with what I have
8(20.0%)
I would be more determined to seek what I need
5(12.5%)
I would accept more
2(5.0%)
I would love more
3(7.5%)
I would be a better friend and family member
2(5.0%)

If I could communicate one thing in words to people I care about who nourish me, it would be:

The way my heart warms and leaps when I am with them
12(30.0%)
how much I am grateful that I can depend on them
13(32.5%)
how I would gladly write a survey in which they always got the cool answers
1(2.5%)
that I think about them all the time, and those thoughts are positive
8(20.0%)
the way I feel when they make me smile
6(15.0%)

What is a small act of kindness in your real life that you've neglected too long, that you can remedy now?

How much of the time do you impulsively do just the opposite of what you think you really mean to do?

Mean: 22.75 Median: 15 Std. Dev 22.08
0(0.0%)
0
6(15.0%)
5
5(12.5%)
10
8(20.0%)
15
2(5.0%)
20
3(7.5%)
25
4(10.0%)
30
1(2.5%)
35
3(7.5%)
40
1(2.5%)
45
0(0.0%)
50
3(7.5%)
55
0(0.0%)
60
1(2.5%)
65
1(2.5%)
70
0(0.0%)
75
0(0.0%)
80
1(2.5%)
85
1(2.5%)
90
0(0.0%)
95
0(0.0%)
100
0(0.0%)


Meanwhile, I've begun my 100 poems project, and share here my first poemCollapse )

president george bush freeway, 7:45 p.m.

Two hot-air balloons hover on the horizon, still in mid-air. Flying just north of the Renner Road exit, two radio controlled planes soar high into the air. The horizon serenely promises a gorgeous sunset, not a Hawaiian sunset where the sun just disappears, but a sunset which slowly, manuscript-like, illumines clouds and glows across prairie and changes lives. The juxtapositions contrast with doing 60 miles an hour in a well-used Crown Victoria, which lacks only a few thousand miles crossing 100,000, at which point it ceases to be an "immoral big gas-guzzling car" and turns into an "all-American classic", albeit a classic that local police everywhere are protesting for its gas tank's alleged propensity for being intolerant of high-speed collisions. I looked into that horizon, and felt a list of things to do, deadlines to meet, trips to take, and work to accomplish. The radio played an NPR special on Bob Hope, who wise-cracked and sang about the Road to Morocco. I sped on, into the sunset, another day ended.