#1 Prompt: Forgiveness - Who have you forgiven this year and what was the journey like that brought you to forgive them?
#2 Prompt: Food: What did you eat this year that stayed with you? Did you experiment with a new meal? Try a new restaurant? Reflect on your good (or less desirable) eats with detail and explain why it stayed with you!
#1: Well, this certainly sparked some soul-searching on my part, and a lunch-long conversation with Tony as we discussed forgiveness.
In 2005, before my mother died, I had a long conversation about forgiveness with my uncle when we were both in Springfield visiting her. I'd read something recently that included a variation of the Lily Tomlin quote "Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past." He liked that, and we talked at length about a family situation that clearly was going to require some forgiveness on both sides.
When I was contemplating who I've forgiven this year, or IF I'd forgiven anyone this year, I realized that I don't actually forgive. I move through a situation, I can move past and move on from a situation, but my relationship with that person is forever after colored by the experience requiring forgiveness. I may continue a friendship or relationship, but I'm a little more guarded, a less less trusting, much more aware of what I say and share and do with that person. I'm rarely without a filter after that point.
Something requiring forgiveness is an event which is going to change how I relate thereafter to that person, and therefore change my life path, even slightly. By forgiving, I still can't undo that change. It happened. It caused whatever reaction it caused. I can choose to include or not that person in my life, or to change the level of involvement, but the solid fact is that the event still happened.
(Disclosure: I am a Scorpio. It has been said that Scorpios don't forget or forgive, they get even. There is some truth to that, even though it may take years to do so.)
I'm pretty good at moving through and on, except when it comes to forgiving myself, probably the most important act of forgiveness any of us ever perform. While I've grown through a lot of events I've done to myself, there are still those that linger in the depths of my memory, and occasionally -- usually when I'm feeling down anyway -- I drag them out yet again and continue the flogging. This year I've made some progress on a couple -- at least I recognize when the cat-o-nine-tails is about to come out, and I can usually put it away. But there is still forgiveness that needs to be generously applied to some of the other memories in that dungeon.
#2: Oh me. I like to eat. I love sweets. And pasta. And fresh bread. And, to be fair, fresh veggies and crisp, fresh salads. I like to eat good food, too. I'm not big on junk food, although I'll admit to a strong craving a few months ago for potato chips, and while I did not break down and buy a bag, I did indulge most heartily in the big bowl of them that was present at a picnic gathering.
I'm not instantly recalling a stand-out meal or dessert this year, however. I enjoyed many such foods, in fact. I think the first, perfectly ripe watermelon of the season, or a fresh, juicy tangerine at Christmas is a delight to taste buds and memory alike. Or a still-warm tomato sliced on good sourdough bread spread with real mayonnaise and topped with a fresh basil leaf is a thrill to the senses. An overflowing black and white sundae, dripping with chocolate and real whipping cream, answered my sweet tooth's plea for deliciousness.
Sometimes a bowl of just-made hot vegetable soup and a slice of fresh bread and butter is perfect for the moment, or a plate of spaghetti with homemade meat sauce and fresh parmesan.
A few years ago -- gasp, in 2007! -- a friend made a birthday cake for Tony and me that was seriously amazing. I wrote about it at the time. It remains in my memory one of the most delectable things I've ever eaten. (Although that group no longer is together and sharing wonderful food (at least with us, anyway!), it was a precious time.)
I'd love to find that to-die-for taste again in 2012. (But I'd also like to get rid of the extra pounds that have slowly crept on this year before they do lasting damage. Right now it's not too many, but if I keep writing about food, it definitely will continue climbing.)