The Nine Steps of Forgiveness

Prompt: Tea

Hello Wednesday,

Tea is always good for you– not only because of anti-oxidant properties, but because of the spiritual calmness that a good cuppa offers in a moment of crisis.

Coffee, meanwhile, is sometimes a miracle elixir, sometimes a perilous toxin, depending on the research and time of day. I love coffee, but it turned me into a morning monster (in all seriousness). When I had to quit caffeine, and when decaf was not considered drinkable, I turned to tea.

How dull, how boring, how English. However, people no longer had to give me a wide berth in the morning (they were, again in all seriousness, afraid of me before my first cup of coffee), and I’ve grown to like green and white teas. Sure, they taste like leaves and grass, and are anemic in colour. One gets used to that, for the sake of good health and community commitment.

May I present a few of my favourite cartoons, the first of which is tangentially related to today’s word prompt, Tea?

herbal tea party

cartoon dog in car

cartoon pig ribs

It’s time to fire up the barbecue. Sorry, little pig.



Writing the Script

Prompt: Original


Dear Lily-Rose,

I visited Miss Fisher on Wednesday and have some good news: She is allowed visits in the low security area, i.e. there is no more plexiglas and a guard listening to every word. She sat directly across the table from me, and I risked discreetly touching her hand, just to confirm this was all real.

She looks surprisingly fit; well-rested and as plump as I have ever seen her. She tells me that she eats well, even on the odd days when she sent to the “cave”, as they call solitary confinement here. Some of her former students are guards and administrators, apparently, and they treat her well despite her convictions.

She does seem a little pale, and her brow was furrowed. She says she misses being outdoors as much as she wants, and later on told me some of the stories of her fellow inmates, which I am thinking contribute to the world-weary expression that she wears.

Miss Fisher’s parole hearing is coming up, and though it is mostly a formality (she will most certainly be denied), I think it is time she and I and all her friends start sharing ideas and strategies for getting her home and into the sunlight for the last few years of her life. If not at this hearing, then the next.

The main problem is that she is not very cooperative with the prison therapist, whom, she tells me, she doesn’t respect, and who believes that she has somehow unravelled the mysteries of Miss Fisher’s past and motives, despite Miss Fisher’s reticence about anything regarding her upbringing, teaching career, and the multiple murders. We aren’t even sure how many men she killed— not even I am sure. The parole board will demand a full confession, all relevant details, expressions of regret, and assurances that Miss Fisher no longer poses a threat to society.

Miss Fisher refuses to be forthcoming. She doesn’t like it in prison. She longs to be free. But she puts a high value on her privacy, and if she feels remorse about the murders she committed, she hides it well. She is not a psychopath, I know she feels deeply, but she simply refuses to share details about her life even though it is against her best interests.

So I am contacting all her friends and supporters, most by form letter, but I send this original, heartfelt letter to you because I know how much you cherish her, and how much you mean to her. You are like family to Miss Fisher, and the one most likely to get through to her.

How is it that we can forgive this woman, who committed such brutal, seemingly random murders? Somehow we do. It is like the crimes were committed in another dimension, by a Miss Fisher who is a righteous defender of the weak and helpless. She is such a defender. But who was she defending by murdering say, a young college student? A man whose wife was pregnant for the first time? A elderly grandfather to seven children?

I want to know, I’m sure you do, and the parole board certainly does. But she does not have to confess to the parole board (or to us). It is completely unethical of me to say this, but she has to tell them what they want to hear. Ironically she is the most ethical of us all, so it will take some convincing. She needs to help me write the script. The goal is Miss Fisher’s freedom. She is old. She has served time, and will do no more harm.

So, in your next correspondence, or during your next visit, could you please discuss the parole hearing with her? It is scheduled for October 14, so there is not much time. If you would like to meet with me and talk about this further, and about the possibility of your testifying at the hearing, I am available most Thursdays after four PM.

Warm wishes,

Forgive me for the profanities in this post.

Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time
If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?

boot tip

There are a lot of clichés about forgiveness.

Forgiving others for their trespasses, for example, is apparently more beneficial to the forgiver than the forgivee, because bitterness and resentfulness are harmful to our health, or something. I agree that it is more pleasant to eliminate unpleasant thoughts than it is to linger upon them. But the world is an unpleasant place. Sometimes bad people cross us and do us wrong. Fuck them. I don’t have time to forgive everyone. It’s too much hard work, processing degrees of wrongness, forcing unwanted empathy, and meditating on the esoteric peace I will achieve by virtue of forgiveness.

Of course I forgive people— my family is easy to forgive, because I know they have never intentionally caused me pain. So if they do, we’re all shocked for a moment, stumble about in confusion, forgive, and move on.

But the guy who assaulted me? Fuck him. The “friend” who humiliated me? Fuck her. Dick Cheney? Fuck him. Margaret Thatcher? Fuck her. Wayne LaPierre? Fuck him. The people who keyed my partner’s Camaro? Fuck them.

The question is, am I deserving of forgiveness, or a Fuck me?

I’ve apologized for most of my miserable little mistakes, and am delighted if I was granted forgiveness for any of them. I don’t want the pain I caused someone else to live and thrive, so forgiveness is desirable, lovely, sometimes needed.

Sometimes it’s just too bad on me if people don’t forgive me.

Except when it comes to forgiving yourself. It is important, if you are deeply regretful, because that asshole in your head who keeps kicking your cerebral cortex with their steel-toed cowboy boots, reminding you of what a piece of shit you are, needs to go away.

So I try to forgive me. It’s hard. Sometimes I don’t deserve it. Most of the time I do.

One thing I don’t want to do, is forego forgiveness with a lot of fantasies about what I could have or should have done. What I did is there, plunked down in my consciousness like a dead squirrel on a highway.

I don’t want to go back and relive it, relive the distresses I caused, the squirmy embarrassments, the petty misdemeanours. They are done. There is no time machine or magic spell that can transport me back and allow me to make better choices.

I am going to live with the decisions I made. The bad ones too. I’m going to forgive myself, instead of dreaming of a magical world where mistakes aren’t made and people don’t get hurt.

To me: You’re forgiven, you old slut. Just do the best you can, from this moment forward. I forgive you. I forgive you.