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Cheryl Hughes: Forgetting Not

Listening to my granddaughter cry while my daughter brushed the tangles from her hair brought back old memories, painful memories.  My stepmom was as frustrated with my hair as my daughter is with my granddaughter’s hair.  Sabria was allowed to protest and cry during the whole process.  I was not.

“I know how you feel,” I told her, “except, I wasn’t allowed to cry.  If I did, I was told to shut up or I would be given something to cry about.  One time my stepmom took me to the beauty shop and had my hair cut off above my ears.  The kids at school teased me and called me a boy.”

“Mamaw did that?” Sabria asked in disbelief.

I saw the hurt in Sabria’s eyes, and it was in that moment that I realized I had no right to take away the love she had for my stepmom from either of them.  “She was a different person then,” I said.  “She turned her life around and was really good to your mom and Nikki, and she really loves you.

Later, I thought about what I said to Sabria.  I wondered if adding the qualifier about how my stepmom had turned her life around gave me some sort of justification to recount all her previous sins.  There are some people I have refused to give forgiveness, because that is the only thing I have left that they didn’t take from me. It is a door I stand behind.  That day, I had to ask myself if I really wanted to gather a crowd there with me, a crowd that included my granddaughter.

Years ago, I cut a poem from a magazine.  I taped it to a page in the front of my Bible.  I read it from time to time.  I think I saved it, because, instinctively, I knew I would always have trouble with forgiveness.  The poem is a plea to my better self.  Maybe, someday I will listen. 


We Wound Afresh

By Verla A. Mooth

We wound afresh

       what Christ himself has healed,   

And desecrate the tombs

        In mercy sealed.

While trampling flowers

       that cover graves of pain,

Some long-repented sins

        dig up again…

Sharp tongues, blunt words,

         and probing minds which tear

Into the half-healed scars

         some hearts must bear.

While priding self 

          on carefully weeded soil,

Our labors have undone

          Love’s sweetest toil.

We are the pure,

          the righteous and self-driven,

Forgetting not

      what Christ has long forgiven.



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