My word of the year last year was FORGIVENESS. I didn’t choose it. It chose me. It was time. Perhaps even overdue.
Through all the years of my life, I thought to forgive was to say that the wrong that was perpetrated was then pronounced right. I learned that is not forgiveness at all. There are wrongs that can never be made right. But even those — perhaps even especially those –can be forgiven. Forgiveness is an acknowledgement that IT happened. That there is no amount of contemplation that will change the fact that IT happened. And that IT occurred in the past. Forgiveness is the act of leaving it there rather than carry the weight of ITS baggage that never truly belonged to you in the first place. Forgiveness is a gift of freedom that you bestow upon yourself. In 2019, I was blessed to learn it, deliver it and receive the glorious rewards that are still coming into my life.
This year I also learned a new word: MANASSEH. I don’t think it is a coincidence that this word found me after I realized the true definition of forgiveness. I would not have been ready to ponder the concept, let alone wish for its arrival in my life, had I not.
MANESSEH is a Hebrew word meaning causing to forget. It makes its appearance in the Bible during the story of Joseph who knew incredible betrayal by his family and a variety of other abuse during his life. But these events that he could not control didn’t alter his destiny. He was able to get through it all not only in tact but enjoying a life so rich with love, beauty and prosperity that it made him forget all of the previous pain and trial he endured. MANASSEH arrived. Joseph was so grateful for this gift that it was the name he gave his firstborn son.
C.S. Lewis described Hell as a place where nobody forgets anything. Each soul in Hell remembers every wrong ever done to them, clinging to those wrongs (large and small) forbidding forgiveness thus locking them into perpetual misery. He goes on to describe Heaven as a place with gates that are unlocked by forgiveness. There all those past offenses are left behind so each soul enters unencumbered, light and poised for renewal.
In my life, my mind chose to repress things for decades that I was unequipped to face. My mind later chose a time when I was stronger to cause me to remember. That began the healing and ultimately the forgiving. Now my soul beckons MANASSEH to preview Heaven while still earthbound inside me.
So as I embark upon the beginning of the New Year/New Decade, I choose MANASSEH as my word for 2020. In this life, we can’t really be fruitful until we are also forgetting, can we?
May we all be true to our word in 2020. Happy New Year!