Saturday, March 17, 2012

Freedom from Injustice



Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree.
Rabindranath Tagore

I’ve been busy shining light in my own soul for the past few weeks, seeing for the first time in two years some hard truths about myself. I know without a doubt now there’s a Higher Power who’s personally interested in my spiritual growth, because the sequence of events these last weeks has inexorably brought me to a gigantic, life-shifting Aha! moment of emancipation, forgiveness, and peace.

My inner darkness began two years ago this month when the FBI burst into my mother’s care facility one morning, arrested the owners for trafficking in slavery, booted out the residents, and destroyed my demented mom’s life. She lost her fragile grip on reality and was dead four months later. I got a major resentment and wrote about it here in April of 2010.

Three weeks ago, the newspaper reported the care home’s owners were sentenced to 18 months in prison and $600,000 restitution to nine workers brought in illegally from a foreign country and treated like slaves. As I read the newspaper report, I suddenly remembered searching for a new home for my mother in the weeks before the FBI raid because the quality of care had deteriorated.

My intuition had told me to move my mother but I didn’t act fast enough. The facility owners and the FBI were beyond my control, but I suddenly saw my part in the fiasco. Recognizing my role in Mom’s meltdown had an immediate effect, releasing me from two years of resentment over the injustice of it all.

That epiphany created a chink in my armor. On its heels came a series of events that brought me face to face with other people whose actions were unjust in the past two years. A little army of people who had hurt me came marching through my life, in circumstances that required me to act helpfully and humanely toward them – something I can’t do when I’m fiercely holding on to resentment about the injuries I suffered.

Because of the chink in my armor, I saw flaws in my own character that were surprisingly similar to those in other people I had judged harshly. I went to my AA sponsor, a woman I’ve met with almost every week for the past year because I wanted her help in learning to live in an unjust world. I told her what I saw in myself. She nodded her head and smiled. She reminded me that we’re all God's children doing the best we can with what we’ve got inside us.

I left her house that night a free woman. My resentments evaporated. I could do the right things now, for the right reasons, with a clean soul.

When I’m willing see my full truth and come clean inside, accepting my part in whatever has injured me, I’m no longer the helpless victim of someone’s wrongdoing. In my experience, all of us lit matches that sent something up in flames. I don’t have to blame anyone anymore. I’m freed from the bondage of resentment through the gift of forgiveness.

I’ve been digesting this as I worked preparing my garden for spring. I’ve pulled out dead stalks, turned the soil, and planted seeds, thinking all the while how wonderful it is to be an imperfect human being. Last night the rain came at last. This morning the ground is soaked, black and beautiful. Fragile first leaves are emerging. Life is good.


19 comments:

Brian Miller said...

smiles...i am glad you found that freedom chris and newly tilled are seeing fresh new growth...

e said...

I wondered what was going on with you...Anger can push us forward but only to a point, then it begins eating away...I'm glad you are clear and that life is good.

Zed said...

I love your insights. They mirror where I am at the moment. Taking an inventory helps, but also releasing oneself through forgiveness...

Grace-WorkinProgress said...

Glad your back. I have recently had a similar transformation and cleaning up my own damage now. Darkest before the dawn I guess.

Terra said...

This sounds like a beautiful healing for you; your AA sponsor spoke wisely and you were open to hearing her plus all the other situations you encountered helped. Yes, life is good.

The Bug said...

It's good to see you here - newly free.

Indigo said...

*Smiles* Someone once told me when I first started to get sober, you can only take care of your side of the street. Took me a while to understand what he meant.

No matter how unjust life is, we still move throughout it at our own pace and take care of our own side of the street. We can't change what choices someone else makes, but we can be responsible for the ones we make. (Hugs)Indigo

Totalfeckineejit said...

Brilliant! Something we can all learn from!

Steve E said...

"...we will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it"...BB. Promises.

And Chris, something I used to HATE to hear a guy say, but now I LOVE it--and he died drunk, dammmit!

"When the student is ready, a teacher will appear..." (And I guess that means the student must first be READY?)

Thanks Chris, for an insightful post.

Hey, today is my 38th Anniversary, March 18, 1974...last drink!!! Just wanted to share that.
PEACE!

the walking man said...

Forgive self for carrying baggage that is not yours to carry and then for the wrong you recognize you have done to others

Forgive others for making you carry their baggage

God in now free to let you find your peace.

Well Done Chris, now the journey can resume.

harry said...

i needed to see these words today. thank you.

Yvonne Osborne said...

What an incredible story. Nursing homes are sorely lacking in regulation. You could write a story about this!

Something about gardening is very therapeutic-turning the soil, planting seeds...new life. Our weather has been terribly warm for March, so warm I'm going to plant spinach and lettuce today, what I could never normally do before the first of May. Enjoy your spring. Life is good.

Lyn said...

The universe spoke to you - you listened and heard. I admire your fearlessness to unravel the mysteries and find answers to your questions. In the end - you found freedom. So happy for you Chris. Peace ...

Carrie Burtt said...

It is a continuous journey of truth isn't it? Your lessons are an inspiration Chris. An inspiration to a world that needs a lot of inspiration. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. "Life is good" :-)

Karen said...

Welcome back, Chris. xoxo

RNSANE said...

I am home from India, Chris, planning to go back, I hope...it is wonderful to find you sounding so positive and at peace and planting beauty for the future.

I had an amazing experience just in the last couple of weeks.....a very dear friend, my first, almost, when I moved to SF ( an RN I worked with on an adolescent psych unit ) contacted me after about a ten year silence. She had gone on to medical school and become a psychiatrist. She kept her SF house so we saw each other infrequently. I went to her wedding in West VA and visited her in NC from time to time.

Well, it seems she has been working at Atascadero for several years, lives in TEMPLETON and loves McPhee's. She and her clan were here last weekend.

I'll be down to see her one of these days and hope I can see you, too.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Thought of you today, hoping your garden is growing beautifully and your heart is full of poetry! :)

Helen said...

Hello Chris ... wanted you to know I've been thinking about you .. hope everything in your world is good!

e said...

Where are you? I hope everything is still good...

Albert Einstein Quotes