The fallacy of forgiveness is that when we seek it, that action alone is equal to redemption.
I overheard this on the train this week. “Thank you Andrew. I’m not quite sure what you are hearing but the real answer is, there is not a definitive answer…
We can dress up these offenders, teach them how to write a story and convince the world that they are really good people. And externally they may appear so. But you can’t hire a pr-consultant to paint you as a respectable human being when inside you are not.
My father saw no ceilings for his daughters or sons. His wife who sat directly across the dinner table from him had a different trajectory. My mother’s choices post-highschool were limited to gender-specific roles: teacher, nun, nurse, secretary, or wife.
How I thought my day would play out, and how it played out were two different scenes. And I loved the latter. Especially the fantastic and unexpected Saturday surprise, from a kind and generous stranger no less. The compliment’s impact is real and lasting because it came from a place of authenticity, and not ego.
The truth is, February is a game changer. I felt good that a marriage, a friend’s birthday, moving to Springfield, and so many positive events offset what happened in 1990. That was when I went to my resident adviser at Marquette University and told her that I sexually was assaulted by another student.
The final scene ended with the women announcing their claim against the EEOC at a press conference where they faced a room packed wall to wall with all male reporters, then the screen turned to black. At which Bridget yelled, “That’s bull shit”.
I told her I don’t want her to live in a world where her vagina is a liability. How can a person who is essential to bringing life into the world be treated so poorly? This is a country where her gender means she makes 28-cents less than her male equivalent. A country where “equality” is a hollow word filled with adjectives like homophobic, racist, misogynistic, supremacist, narcissistic, ugly, evil, and wrong.
It’s Thursday. There’s plenty of time to find a babysitter, change a carpool, or cancel a lunch date. It is scary, to stand out and up for something you believe in. What’s scarier is what happens when we sit down.
“Momma you have to tell me why you’re crying!”
I waved her off in a futile attempt to silence her. Using the collar of my t-shirt, I wiped wipe my tears, mumbled and pleaded between sobs, “I will, I promise, please just listen, Bridget, just listen.”
We are always told to “Put yourself in their shoes” or “Walk a mile in their shoes” or some other iteration. And I have tried over the years to do just that. I recall sitting in court at 26th and California, listening to the public defender plea with the judge or jury as a death penalty was considered and begging for forgiveness. Those moments almost always made me think about how we choose our paths, and ultimately how our environments contribute to our behavior.
“The nation doesn’t seek nor expect perfect presidents, and some have certainly been deeply flawed. But a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great.”
USA Today Editorial, Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom?, December 12, 2017
My mother nor I had finished reading the collection. That afternoon we read poetry aloud to one another. It was intoxicating. Short of her sharing in my daughter’s birth, that afternoon will stand as one of the best, most intimate, loveliest moments with my mom. Later that evening, she did it again, reading the poetry to a group of women, who were strangers not an hour before. I was reminded of the first time she took the pulpit and read from the Old Testament at St. Thomas More. Her grace, presence, and ability to project every nuance of those readings had me wanting to tell the whole church. “Hey, that’s my mom.” I felt the same way that night. And like many experiences this past year, I believed that book, and every poem bathed in Gluck’s own pain derived from her own divorce, was meant for me to read and to listen to.