I don't honestly remember how I found Blogger, I probably just googled "blog" and up popped Blogger. All I remember is I wanted a forum to document at the time, what I thought was going to be a four month find myself sabbatical. I never thought I'd still be writing, still looking two years later.
I have kept journals (private and on paper) in the past. I especially like travel journaling. When my sister and I took our first trip to Africa in 2003 I wrote about our daily experiences. When I got home I typed up my journal and assembled it with pictures in a big photo album and gave it to her. I mean really, what do you give a sister who has everything. I found that album yesterday at her house. It was so enlightening to go back through and read about our first African adventure, we were the two geeky girls from Kansas. My sister at the time was much more well traveled, me, South Africa was only the third foreign country I had been to. I like that the memories, the feelings you experience at that specific point in time with the past experiences that have shaped you up until that moment are all there. As time progresses our viewpoints vacillate due to our additional experiences that tack on in our psyches as we grow older. You will never remember that one moment eight years ago exactly the same way as when you experienced it for the first time.
That is why I continue to blog.....I see the transformation of self on the pages I have written. It is staggering at times.
When I started to write one of my self imposed rules was to never censor. However, I have not been able to keep that rule for several reasons. I have learned that the freedom of press we enjoy in the US is a very sacred and unique right that is not afforded in other countries. I cannot come out and voice my opinions as it may actually get me banned in some places. For my safety and for my desire to keep doing the work I do, I must censor. That was difficult to internalize.
I have also learned, political correctness is alive and well even in the blog world. I am a pretty simple person, if you don't like something, if you don't like me or how I say, do or handle things, SAY it. Say it directly, succinctly and in my presence. That is how I operate. A lot of people do not. Sadly more people than I would like to count operate on appearances that do not have any resemblance to the people they are at the core. This goes both ways, people who are "perceived" to be godly, good and generous are the antithesis behind closed doors. The people who are written off as harsh, direct, blunt are the most caring, giving people I know. I am one of the former. I have yet to embrace the politically correct behavior but I am always trying to work on my delivery. Do we really need political correctness? Maybe we just need a bit more honesty. Unfortunately, I do not think the world is ready for honesty.
One thing I am always conscious of while I write is protecting people's privacy. There are people and experiences in my life I simply do not write about no matter the place they occupy in my life. If this is censorship, so be it. I also will not use names if I am questioning difficult interactions with people. We all have our right to remain anonymous and I do not want people to fear they may be a notable subject in one of my blogs.
When I look back, which I have done while writing this blog, I am so thankful that I have the experiences of the last two years documented. Some of the posts are difficult to read, there were some very sad, dark days. But, there were also some days one can only hope to have once in their lifetime...and I have had many.
Update on Day 9 of 30. Life, mending relationships, and forgiveness is not always easy and appears to sometimes not operate in the earthly realm. I believe it all comes down to our faith and our ability to forgive and let go.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in Luke 23:39-43. It is the story of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and his conversation with the two criminals on crosses on each side of him.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
Jesus did not look over at the criminal who had just taken a leap of faith, laying all his trust in the Lord and asking him to take him to heaven and itemize every sin that had gotten him to this cross.
Can you imagine Jesus looking at the criminal and saying, "Well, thug, I appreciate the faith and your sincere request for forgiveness and I probably will grant you your request but....
"Remember the mugging you did in Capernaum?"
"You did a dine and dash at that vegan restaurant in Judea."
"You stole a keg of wine at the Horowitz wedding in Nazareth."
"Oh, and how about the tourist you scammed in the money exchange at the Egyptian border?"
No, Jesus simply said, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
I pray we can all learn lessons of forgiveness from this story. I would rather have someone decline my request for forgiveness than to itemize my alleged sins against them as just one more go round to get the last word and then still not move on. Perhaps it's about them making sure I am REALLY REALLY repentant? If I am sorry, I am sorry. There is no hidden agenda no insincerity no play for appearance sake. I prefer to move on. Why is that so difficult? Why does it mostly appear to happen with women? I think we can all learn a lesson from Jesus on forgiveness, especially His forgiveness and acceptance of this rotten, no good, despicable criminal. Or as Max and I argue....Fight, fight, fight...ok, "It is finished. No problem. We ride now."
If you need to ask for forgiveness or give forgiveness, simply do it.