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Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, June 12, 2006


Redemption. What a concept. Where would I be if redemption were not possible? Would I even wish to wake in the morning if it weren’t for that skinny little chance each new day offers to find redemption?

Redemption: 1) improving of something – the act of saving something or somebody from a declined, dilapidated, or corrupted state and restoring it, him, or her to a better condition; 2) redeemed state – the improved state of somebody or something saved from apparently irreversible decline.

Redemption. It’s the foundation for traditional Christian theology. It’s a fundamental belief/tenet/goal within all of the world’s major religions. Redemption makes failure bearable for it opens doors to atonement, forgiveness, growth, understanding and, finally, grace.

I suppose there are those who may never achieve redemption or salvation. I can’t imagine how a Hitler or Stalin (or any number of depraved individuals) could be redeemed. Maybe I’m just too horrified to figure that one out. The rest of us, though, have a chance to save ourselves…or save one another.

* * *

I think I fall somewhere betwixt good and evil. I’ve hurt others, undoubtedly so. My sins/errors/failures all fall in the “Didn’t Love Properly” category. It’s a broad category, to be sure. I’ve failed at love in a number of ways with a number of people with varying degrees of consequence and suffering. It’s not the way I wanted to live my life. It’s not the way I thought I would fail. Funny (well, not really), I’ve only hurt the ones I’ve loved (including some innocent bystanders, unfortunately). I believe I have treated all other acquaintances honorably (often to my personal detriment). No…sadly…it’s the people I love who have suffered.

But, for me, there is still the chance for redemption. At least, I believe there is. I cannot know the time, place or specific opportunity, but I know in my guts that there will always be ways to make amends, to heal or to save. I know this because I have achieved a certain mutual acceptance and peace with the ones I’ve hurt in the past. There’s work to be done in the present, to be sure. In fact, the work will never end.

I’ve tried to be a friend. I’ve been loyal. I am there when needed. Although hearts travel their own and different paths, I’ve never ever fallen out of love…I've only tumbled from my relationships (e.g., marriages).

* * *

I had a “Mr. Darcy moment” a few weeks ago. I was able to do something for my first wife. She had been swept into difficult straits, and I was able to throw her a lifeline. We didn’t talk about it much. The conversation went something like this:

She: “You didn’t have to do that. You don’t owe me anything.”
He: “I know. But that’s what I's what I wanted to do.”

Redemption. It does far more for the sinner than the sinned against.

* * *


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