Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jellyfish and The Light of Forgiveness

This phenomenal crop circle appeared recently in England. Spectacular, isn't it?

What makes it even more interesting to me is that I had just seen Seven Pounds with Will Smith a week before receiving notification of the appearance of this crop circle. I'd not seen Seven Pounds before, and I really respect the roles that Will chooses (no, we're not on first-name basis, but he seems like such a regular, family oriented guy... someone you could have a beer with off-screen, you know?), so I wanted to be sure to see it when it came on cable.

What a powerful movie! I knew that Seven Pounds had to do with paying debts, and when I looked up the reference to that, it was old "Willie the Shake" who made it famous: it comes from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", where a wager is set and the debt to be paid if unfulfilled will result in '7 pounds of flesh' being taken. Its literal meaning these days is that no circumstances will prevent the debt from being repaid, whether it results in devastating circumstances, or even loss of life.

Will's character, Ben, has -- by a momentary, careless mistake -- lost what he loves most -- his wife -- as well as causes the death of six others. He has a "seven pounds of flesh" debt to repay, and does this by literally giving of himself to those who are in dire need of it. Ben is intense and urgent and driven by inner demons and flashbacks. One of these flashbacks is as a young boy when his father took him to the aquarium and the two of them watched ghostly and graceful jellyfish which his father told him are the most poisonous animals on earth. Ben gets one as a pet and keeps it in a cylindrical tank in his room. I took it as a reminder of happier times with his dad, before the gravity of adulthood took over. The jellyfish crop circle looks exactly like that jellyfish!

So the story (I won't tell the ending) is about mistakes made and debts paid. Underlying all of this heavy drama is the undercurrent of the need for forgiveness. Ben needs to forgive himself for a foolish yet fatal mistake. The movie haunted me for a few days (and still does, I guess) and I can't help but wonder how often each of us needs to practice that forgiveness... of ourselves and others. How often do those inner demons keep us from seeing clearly the need to forgive? Those dark demons are intent only on making us feel empty, worthless, evil. While the Light shows us that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, loved beyond measure by Spirit, and are constantly trying to do our best in any given moment to become closer to our Divine Self. While those demons torment, the Light nurtures. Why is forgiveness so hard for us? And while we may forgive others, why can't we forgive ourselves?

I am wading through the bitter disappointment of our 16 year old daughter Paige leaving home for the second time in a month. In our last exchange, she told me of wounds I had caused her when she was little. I apologized for my behavior... and now we both are tormented by those memories and wounds. Neither of us has forgiven me, not me nor her. Now her absence echoes like a drop of water in a hollow cave. Paige has had her own self-destructive behaviors over the past few years -- which have grown in magnitude -- which have made it hard to have her at home. So she needs to learn some lessons on her own, but I worry about her immaturity and lack of judgment and foresight in keeping herself safe. I pray for her safety. And for both of us to forgive, ourselves and each other.

I hope you find forgiveness in your day today.