Karen G. Prudente
Acknowledging that I (or another) may have caused hurt can be a painful process of self-discovery. Numbing and denial make it worse. Facing my trials with complete honesty helped faster recovery. Immediately putting on another’s shoes for perspective helps me better understand my reactions. I do my best to suspend and eliminate judging others – a challenging task! These experiences have taught me resiliency: three family assassinations, powerful co-workers; and being whom God made me.
To find peace, forgiveness is necessary. I forgive myself and others. I understand the power of love – of all people and even an institution like the church (and its rules) that doesn’t openly welcome everyone. Living honestly knowing that God supports me completely is renewing. Acknowledging people’s pain is humbling. I remain continually perplexed of the pursuit of people to kill, harm and destroy lives and relationships under the guise of a shared value system. And yet, everyone belongs to the Divine. Thus, I yearn for graceful mercy and courageous faith.
Rage and anger debilitated Nasreen when we identified my beloved Nazgul’s body. I remained calm knowing cultural issues were to still play out. It has been a long, painful process. A deaconess, Naz loved everyone. Her love of dance brought smiles everywhere. That mid-July 2013, Naz’s traumatic passing stilled the global Deaconess and United Methodist Women movements. Living under tough conditions as a Pakistani Christian and despite being free to be herself under certain American situations, she never took things for granted and lived as honestly as possible. Those who knew Nazgul have self-reflected since then. Have I forgiven?
“There is no greater misfortune than feeling I have an enemy, for when I have an enemy, there is no room for God.” When I am filled with compassion and kindness, my conversations of humble inquiry change any expectations. I remember to put myself in the other person’s space knowing that we can find common ground of forgiveness.