Forgiveness is an Open Door

Posted on January 21, 2018

”We are but actors on a stage, and God is the unfooled audience.”  ~ John Calvin


This is not really a New Year’s blog ~ although it is about endings and beginnings. In a few weeks, it will be 7 years since we lost our 18 year old son, Joel. There is truly something special about the number 7. I have no idea why, but it seems to be God’s favorite number… and that, in and of itself, makes 2018 a year of significance to me. And a year to look forward to living.

As I look back on 2017, it has truly been a pivotal year in the angry landscape of my life. I’m fairly certain I have been angry for nearly all my life. I suppose I could try to think up justifiable reasons why. But that doesn’t really matter. And a life wasted on being angry is certainly not a good thing. Nothing I can think of is more toxic than harboring anger.

Of course there is such a thing as righteous anger and a time and place for it. There are indeed many injustices in this world that may require a certain degree of anger to motivate enough passion and dedication to change anything. It is not my place to judge whether or not anyone else’s anger is helpful, and I thank God for the courageous people among us who are making a difference.

I am only speaking for myself and about my own anger. It may have started out to be something pure. But much of it has become destructive. It has begun to devour me. It has started to hold hands with its best friend “Unforgivness”. And unforgivenss has a way of turning on you ~ every time.

Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the one who hurt you. 

My anger wasn’t something someone else could make go away with the “perfect apology”. It was something I had to let go of myself. In order do that, I had to want to let go of it.

As the sunset of 2017 became the sunrise of 2018, I have had a lot of time; I have been so sick, for so long. One thing just led to another. Pneumonia for 3 months. The flu. Severe reactions to different autoimmune medications. It got to the point where all I could do was sleep or lay somewhat semiconscious on the couch in my studio. So I have been reading, thinking and praying (or trying to) a lot. As it turns out, this has been a good thing. I decided I don’t want to be sick anymore, and I don’t want to be angry all the time anymore.

Not long ago, someone close to me had the courage to say to me, “You seem like you just have to be angry at someone or something all the time.” Of course, that really hacked me off.

But as I lay there, stranded on the couch ~ in between dashes to the bathroom to throw up, yet again ~ I came to the uncomfortable realization that there was something in what my friend had said that was right. Looking honestly at oneself can indeed be unsettling. It began to dawn on me that I sometimes took great offense at the smallest things.

It was almost as if I would create battles to fight because I didn’t know what else to do.

I’m a fighter by nature. That can be a good thing ~ to a point. I guess I was just born that way.



But fighting a battle that is already won is destructive and not good for anyone.

Isn’t there a true story about some World War II soldiers who were stranded on an island in South East Asia and didn’t know the war was over until years later, when they were rescued? Because they didn’t know, they just kept on doing the only thing they knew how to do ~ which was to keep on fighting. There’s a certain kind of sadness to that story, but there’s also a certain kind of bittersweet honor.

In my case, I don’t think there’s much honor to it. Because in a way, I did know. I guess I just didn’t quite understand the truth of it.

I finally realized I was fighting in a war that was already over… and I needed to find the pathway out.



In in all of this, I am only speaking for myself. But for me,

forgiveness is an open door. A door to freedom.



Of Letting Go

This is why we need to know,
the untrained skill

Of letting go.

Let us not stay
and opt to live ~
expecting another
forever to pay.

When we are hurt,
we haven’t the right
to refuse to talk it over,
holding the hurt so tight.

We lose our true vision,
blindly and without foresight.
We now can see only
in lifeless black and white.

Trying to hold another
in a false prison of heart’s shards,
believing wrongly we hold all the cards.

Revenge we think we deserve…
Expecting them forever
our ego to serve.

It is a fruitless bait ~
a weapon used wrongly.
Our rancor lives on
even more strongly.

And what once was love,
becomes a devouring hate.
Our time expires,
and it’s too late.

Unforgiveness becomes
an open sore that cannot heal.
A jail cell
to punish another ~
our sister, our brother.
A cell that isn’t even real.

This is why we need to know,
the untrained skill

Of letting go.

Let us choose to peel
off all our hurts.
Just as we would

~our blood-stained shirts.


      ~ tricia woodworth

everything else seemed to come together... My creativity, my love of helping hurting people, my belief in art as a healing agent and my faith in a God who is filled with love for us all.
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One Response to “Forgiveness is an Open Door”

  1. Ann says:

    Truly beautiful post Tricia and I’m so happy you’ve been set free!!! Bless you.

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