There is a saying about Irish Alzheimer’s. It’s when you forget everything but the grudges. BOOM!
Yes, I’m proud of my Irish heritage. Although we have a reputation for being deep in the drink, we don’t have more alcoholics than other ethnic groups. It’s something all of us heard growing up, and the Italians were the Mafiosa, The Polish were, well. Mentally challenged. The Scottish and Jewish were stingy. We all believed the half-truths that kept our ethnic groups apart just like religion does. The Irish Catholic Church was in one neighborhood, the Polish Catholics in another, the Italian Catholics, yet another. We based segregation on not only ethnicity, but religion to boot.
And we were segregated. My mother is 92 years old, and her parents thought ill of Italians; none of her sisters or her could date Italian “Mama’s Boys.” Mom told me once if Grandpa Bobell was alive, I wouldn’t have been allowed to marry the Croatian I married. My German Grandpa was very much hateful towards the Croatians. They divided the country after WWII, and they disappeared with the Slavic nations. Croatians had darker skin than Germans, and there was a prejudice about that, too. Crazy world, isn’t it?
I find it pretty interesting to read about the history of Omaha, Nebraska. My family grew up there, and so did my brothers and I. My dad lived within a mile of where he grew up, attending the same Catholic Church he did for his entire lifetime. That’s pretty amazing. Except for that stint in Europe and the one in Korea, courtesy of the United States Army, his world seemed pretty small. I can imagine the prayers of a young man, 19 years old and with the Medical Corps, praying to God to get him home safely, I’m sure he had PTSD. He had to, with what he witnessed. My dad was the most forgiving person I knew; he always told me to give people the benefit of the doubt. After the second time they double-cross you, there is a pattern and you shouldn’t trust them anymore. Good advice. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
Forgiving someone isn’t a one and done thing. Some hurts are so deep, so soul-piercing, you need to heal before you can even think of forgiving. Sometimes, it’s just not a wise thing to do. Yes, some folks don’t deserve your forgiveness. That isn’t the point. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not for others. Grudges are heavy to carry around. They take all of your energy. Wanting to forgive is not the same as willing to forgive. There in lies the rub.
Logic tells me I need to forgive. Emotion tells me, “After what they did??” Logic tells me being human makes us imperfect. Emotion tells me to hit the bricks, the quicker the better. My Catholic upbringing tells me if I want God to forgive me, I need to forgive others. You got me there, big time. God doesn’t do things He doesn’t want to. Humans have to sometimes.
That said, forgiving is Divine. It doesn’t mean you forget. That’s a very important lesson we don’t learn. At least I didn’t as a kid. It is foolish to give someone who deeply hurt you the same access to you afterwards. Caution and common sense must prevail. Only in a second chance can you learn if this is habitual behavior or if it was a onetime occurrence.
I’ve been in work groups with people in them who knew more about systems, etc. than the boss did. They usually were curt and rude to co-workers. But management allowed it. Not a friendly work environment. It stinks to be new on a team and be treated like you’re stupid by a co-worker. Once I worked with a woman who towered over everyone. She would stand above your workspace, hitting her fist into her free hand while she told you how to do something she didn’t think you did correctly. How hostile! I’m glad those days are long gone. Bullies aren’t acceptable, never have been.
Being retired, I get to choose which groups of people I associate with. I love like-minded people. People who want to make the world a better place, who want to help others along the way. Things flow better when you’re united by a common cause. I’m enjoying the friendships I’ve built with other Nebraska Writers. It’s mostly online, and that’s ok. They’re a wealth of information, and I hope to sit with them and listen to them talk. I learn so much by listening. My dad always told me, “If you want to know what’s going on, sit and listen. Keeping your mouth shut and your ears open, and you’ll know as much as the others know.”
Dad’s advice worked when dealing with executives or homeless Veterans. Respecting people is never something I want to overlook. It’s important, no matter what their position is. And sometimes we need to forgive things that people are not sorry for. That’s a genuine test of your character and will. No, you don’t want to forgive. The person isn’t sorry. They’ll never apologize. Be the bigger person. Free yourself from carrying that grudge. It’s amazing. I applaud you.
This is a cloudy, chilly fall day outside. I’m listening to our friend Rick Tiger’s music. I’m so sad COVID took him way too soon. His wife, Joyce has so many beautiful love songs he wrote with her in mind. They’re as lovely as she is. The words in my head make me imagine the way he would sing, and the look of love he had for his bride. One song talks about it if were his last day on earth, he’d ask the Lord if he could wait outside the pearly gates and wait for her. Joyce, he is waiting for you. Please don’t rush. But he’ll be there, waiting. What a lovely man he was. He still is, in our memories. I enjoyed his outlook so much. So hard to believe there will not be a Rick Tiger night again at the VFW. It was fun.
After having COVID these past two weeks, I woke this morning finally feeling human again. Maybe it’s the fact the headache finally subsided. It was just a dull ache. The brain fog is lifting, I think. I’ve thought of Rick so much during this illness. I was lucky to not get pneumonia. We know someone hospitalized with COVID pneumonia right now. It is a situation we’re praying over, intently. All I can do it pray. For those who lost loved ones, and who will lose loved ones. Just know we care. We forgive you. And we ask God to be good to you. Take care out there. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.