“It has been said, ‘Time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”—Rose Kennedy
At the start of the semester, there is one lesson that I try to drill into my student’s heads—the fallacy that time heals all wounds. Time doesn’t, I tell them. Rather, it is what we do with the time that heals the wounds.
Grieving, or healing, is a proactive process. You cannot just sulk in one corner, moan about your troubles and watch the world go by. That’s fine for a couple of months; one has to grieve one’s loss, after all.
But after a while, the light breaks into the crack of the wounded heart, and you realize that the world does not, and will not, stop for you. So you slowly reinvest, reorganize and rebuild a new life where the person who is now gone has left an empty space.
But does the pain ever go away? Does one become scarred for life?
If you are talking about the death of a child, a parent or a spouse, the pain will always be there, but it lessens as the years go by. But if it is there, it will always be there. Accept it, make it your friend and live with it.
As you become friends with that kind of pain, and channel whatever sadness you have into reaching out and helping others on a similar journey, then the pain finds a deeper meaning, a higher purpose.
Now, when we talk about broken relationships, such as friendships or romances, then this is where the forgiveness comes in. The pain of this kind of loss will never go away, or at the very least, be eased, if you are unable to forgive.
Frederick Luskin, director of Stanford University’s forgiveness project, says: “The practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt, depression and stress, and leads to greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and self-confidence. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthy relationships as well as physical health. It also influences our attitude which opens the heart to kindness, beauty, and love.”
In the website learningtoforgive.com, he outlines nine steps that may help people forgive.
1. Know exactly how you feel about what happened, and be able to articulate what about the situation is not okay. Then, tell a couple of trusted people about your experience. The operative word here is trusted, otherwise, you will just make the issue a bigger one than it already is.
2. Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better. Forgiveness is for you, and not for anyone else. For example, if you want to yell and scream, go someplace where you can shout without disrupting or alarming your neighbors or colleagues.
3. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you, or condoning his action. The bottom line is inner peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the “peace and understanding that come from blaming that which has hurt you less, taking the life experience less personally, and changing your grievance story.”
4. It’s all about perspective. Recognize what it is that is causing you pain now, and what offended you or hurt you two minutes—or 10 years—ago. Forgiveness helps to heal those hurt feelings.
5. The moment you feel upset, practice a simple stress management technique to soothe your body’s flight-or-fight response. I leave the room and put a physical distance between who or what it is that is upsetting me, and I take a walk around the block. Make the coping skill a healthy one. Binge-eating, drinking or shopping is not healthy.
6. Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do not choose to give you. Build your boundaries, and teach other people to respect them.
7. Put your energy into looking for another way to get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt you. Don’t be a masochist. Replaying old hurts is never helpful.
8. Remember that a life well-lived is your best revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you. Forgiveness is about personal power.
9. Amend your grievance story to remind you of the heroic choice to forgive. You always have the power in your hands to create your own ending.
Many times in my life I’ve had to grapple with the issue of forgiveness and have found these nine steps to be very helpful on the journey to healing. But the years have taught me that it doesn’t end there.
The 10th and most powerful point— prayer—has always been the most effective for me. It is when I let Him step in and take over that the miracle begins. It’s been said that what God intended for us is always far better than what we can ever imagine. When I’ve done all I can, I give up the struggle and turn it over to Him and that is when He moves in my behalf, sometimes swiftly, and sometimes slowly.
Always, it is in His perfect time that we become healed, and only the scars of battle remain as a constant reminder of the struggle we went through and how His grace never leaves us where He first finds us.
Follow the author on Twitter @cathybabao or her blog www.storiesbykate.wordpress.com.
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TAGS: Forgiveness, healing, Relationships
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I'm sure most of you turned into today expecting to see the Loose Ends column. You see, last week I asked all of you to scour my old articles for questions that never got answered or references that were never explained. I would collect them all into an article that tied up all these loose ends. The reason I asked for all your help is that with a set of newborn twins, I simply don't have the time to comb through all my articles to collect the loose ends. But I felt it was a topic you all would enjoy. Thus, asking you for help seemed like a perfect answer. Unfortunately, I only got five unique loose ends to talk about. (Although to be fair, a lot of you want to hear about the near-riot at PT LA). This isn't enough for a full article. So, I'm asking one more time for your help. If a loose ends column sounds appealing, I need your help collecting them. No matter what, in two weeks I'll write whatever loose ends I receive. The more I get though, the longer the article. So here's your chance. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org what you'd like to hear about.
As for today's column, I've tried something a little different. I've flexed my creative writing muscles to bring you a short story about R&D. The article has provided numerous laughs around here. I hope you all have as much fun with my fictional (or is it?) take on R&D.
are many cool things about working in R&D. But for Aaron Forsythe nothing was as fun as finally having an opportunity to get a real “behind-the-scenes” peek. He had spent all his spare hours during his first month scouring the Multiverse, Magic's extensive database, for comments from the designers and developers. And the results were quite humorous. Some fundamentally “broken” cards were barely discussed while other clunkers had pages of notes.
One day while searching through Tempest, Aaron stumbled across Cursed Scroll. In the comments field, he found the following:
2.4 TW template should be fine, tho we might want "a card chosen at random"
2.44 lowered cc from 3 to 1
3.05 JLM For flavor/naturalness reasons, it should just do damage to opponent who chooses the card.
3.07 MR This card would be horribly weak if it couldn't do damage to creatures.
3.07 WJR Not horrible weak, just less “interesting.”
4.0 JLM--If it just damages players, it becomes a cheaper variant of Vexing Arcanix, which was actually a popular card when it first came out and was initially perceived as being very strong.
Aaron found this interchange quite entertaining. He was just about to click to the next card when he noticed a strange red button sitting on the bottom right of the screen. He had never seen anything like it before in any of the Multiverse files. The button had no writing, merely an icon of a brain in a jar. Aaron thought about asking about the button, but finally decided to just try it. After all, what could possibly happen?
The screen turned red and the words “Gleemax Mode” appeared at the top of the screen. The comments field completely changed:
RG (8/15/96): Team expressed interest in card that will dominate limited and block constructed play and sit at Tier 1 in Standard and Tier 1 in Extended for several years. Here you go.
HS (3/2/97): Dev team ran through metagame simulator. Believe public will take several months to maximize usage.
JM (4/1/97): Consulted with DCI about banning in block constructed in spring of '98.
WJR (4/13/97): Gleemax approved
MR (4/14/97): Guess we won't be needing TM's help. :-)
Aaron was puzzled at first. But then he realized that it must be some practical joke. He had heard all the Gleemax jokes (some claimed that R&D was run by a giant alien brain in a jar). Someone was obviously having some fun with him. The thing he was most puzzled by was Mark Rosewater's (he assumed MR was Rosewater) comment about a TM. To the best of Aaron's knowledge, no one with the initials TM had ever worked in R&D.
Curiosity finally got the best of Aaron. “Hey Mark,” he called across the R&D galley, “Who the hell is TM?”
When Aaron turned around to hear his answer, he found Mark already at his desk. “TM?” Mark began, “What are you…”
Mark's face went white as he saw Aaron's computer monitor. “How did you… What is that?”
“I don't know,” said Aaron, “I was looking through Multiverse when I found this weird red button on the screen for Cursed Scroll.”
“For the love of god,” Mark said softly to himself, “We can make addictive ink and hide subliminal messages, but we can't keep a freakin' level one security clearance on Multiverse.”
Aaron was still waiting for the punchline when Mark said, “You better come with me.”
Aaron had a lot of questions, but Mark's body language made it clear that this wasn't the time. Mark shuffled Aaron into the elevator. “Why don't we just walk up the stairs?” Aaron asked.
“Because there aren't stairs to where we're going.”
Aaron had always wondered why a two-story building had an elevator. He got his answer when the elevator went down. As the elevator descended the panel with the buttons rotated to reveal an entire new set of buttons several of which sported mana symbols. Mark punched in a code (the mana cost of Phelddagrif). A computer voice then said, “Password please.”
“Bad cards don't really have to exist,” Mark replied.
“Password accepted,” said the computer.
Aaron's mind was spinning. “I have so many questions,” Aaron told Mark.
“Let's start with what is all of this?”
“This room is R&D's Secret Lair,” explained Mark. “This is where all the actual design and development gets done. You didn't think Magic was actually created by a bunch of guys sitting around in cubicles?”
“How can you afford all this?”
“Magic makes a lot of money, Aaron. A lot of money. Where do you think we funnel most of it? We sure don't waste it on frivolous things like television advertising or a monthly magazine.”
“How come no one knows about this?”
“Because we've gone to great lengths to keep it hidden. Could you imagine the public's response if all the crazy rumors turned out to be real? Heck, if you're respond poorly to learning this information, your mind would be wiped before we hit the elevator.”
“So what all do you guys do down here?”
“Over there are all the computers. We use them to properly analyze where and how the metagame will adapt. We've created three AI's – Timmy, Johnny and Spike – to help us understand how each card will be received. Next to that is the behavior modification software. Then there's ink generation and modification. Then the internet bots used to create and fan false rumors. There's the formulacolater used to design the chunk of the cards. The subliminal imbuer. The overcoster. The color pie enforcer. That's the pit for the trained monkeys. Then we have the vault. We keep several thousand copies of every card we've created including all the ones we've released to the public. And finally, the two sealed rooms, the Correcting Room and the Forbidden Room.”
“The Correcting Room and the Forbidden Room? What are those?”
“You'll see the former in a minute. And the latter, don't ask again.”
Mark's stare told Aaron that not all his questions were going to be answered. “So, how are you guys qualified to do all this stuff?”
Aaron followed as Mark started walking. “R&D is filled with only the most highly educated scientific minds. Why do you think we have so many math and science people?”
“But you're a sitcom writer.”
“Really? You never stopped to think why I mention my Roseanne gig so much?”
“It's a cover?”
“Exactly. I was brought to the team for my expertise in one area.”
“Heavens no. Although I am quite proud of the split cards.”
Mark stopped as he arrived at the closed door. He let a small laser scan his retina. “Password,” asked the computer.
“Password accepted,” the computer replied.
The door slid open to reveal a medium-sized room complete with a large silver object. It was clearly a time machine. Aaron followed Mark into the room. “What is this?” Aaron asked.
“This,” Mark replied, “is TM.”
“R&D has a time machine?!”
“Hey, even we can make mistakes. Anyway, this is why I was hired in R&D. For my expertise in time travel.”
“Do you think you'll ever have to use it?”
“Have to? This baby has already saved our butts more times than I can remember.”
“But then why didn't you do anything about Urza's block?”
“Aaron, Aaron, Aaron. If you think the biggest problem with power level is Urza's Saga then we've done our job well. You don't remember the reality where Homelands broke the game. Or when Sorrow's Path destroyed Standard. Or the Muddy Spring where Mudhole twisted the metagame so far someone actually ran over R&D with a bus. Thank god Stern was home sick that day.”
“Mudhole? How exactly does removing lands from a graveyard warp an environment?”
“It didn't do that then.”
“What did it do?”
Mark visibly shivered. “Some mechanics are better left off dead and buried.”
“How did R&D end up with a time machine?”
“Richard built it after Magic collapsed.”
“I don't understand,” Aaron said, “Magic never collapsed.”
“Not in this timeline. But back in Alpha, the original Alpha mind you, the Power Fourteen proved more than the game could handle. “
“Yeah, Lotus, the Moxes, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, Timetwister, and the Laces.”
A frightened look came to Mark's face. “Look, I'm still not ready to talk about the Laces. Because of them I lost someone very close to me.”
“But what could they possibly do…?”
Mark sternly raised his hand. “Dead and buried!”
“How many times have you guys had to use the time machine?”
“What about Pale Moon?”
“There are some things even a time machine can't fix.”
Aaron didn't know what else to say. In the silence, a tear came to Mark's eye. “Let's get out of here,” he said.
As Aaron and Mark walked back to the elevator, Mark finished the tour. “Now that you know the truth, it's time for your indoctrination.”
Mark led Aaron towards the second closed door. As Mark was about to open it Aaron asked, “How come this door doesn't have any security on it?”
“Because anyone foolish enough to enter deserves their fate.”
“Wait a minute. Where are we going?”
“This whole Gleemax thing's just a big joke right?”
“R&D's controlled by a giant alien brain in a jar? Does that sound remotely plausible?”
Aaron looked around at the R&D Secret Lab. He felt the knot is his stomach double in size. “Come on,” said Mark, “We have an appointment to keep.”
And with that comment, the two entered the Forbidden Room.
I hope you enjoyed my little foray into fiction (or is it? – let me know when this jokes stops being funny. Already?). I'm curious to hear (again: email@example.com) if you'd like to see more fiction of this style in the future.
That's all for this week. Join me next week when I talk about Plague Rat's offspring.
Until then, may R&D not need TM's help.