Community Voices

A new year: Time for forgiveness and righting wrongs

The documentary, ‘Voices Beyond The Wall: Twelve Love poems From The Murder Capital of the World,’ will be screened 5 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Cathedral in Miami.
The documentary, ‘Voices Beyond The Wall: Twelve Love poems From The Murder Capital of the World,’ will be screened 5 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Cathedral in Miami.

Happy New Year, everyone!

I am so thankful that I am here in the new year, and that I am — as my mom used to say — “clothed and in my right mind.” It is, indeed a blessing to have been spared these many years and to be well and in a great frame of mind.

A new year signifies a new beginning. A time for each of us to make right the wrongs we may have committed. It is a time of forgiveness; of letting go of the past and reaching toward a higher calling.

Like many of you, I won‘t say that I have made a New Year’s resolution. I will say that I have taken inventory of my life, have seen what is lacking and have made a vow to the Lord to work on the those things that have displeased Him and make them right.

In my lifetime, I have had many hurts. Sometimes, the pain comes back to haunt me and I spend too much time dwelling on something unpleasant that happened many years ago, instead of letting go and moving on. Still, every now and then, something hurtful — be it from a family member, a friend or some job-related incident — will creep back into my thoughts. When that happens, the pain I felt in the past comes alive again.

This isn’t a good feeling. And I find myself asking God, “Did I really forgive the person or persons who hurt me? If I haven’t, please Dear Lord help me to do so.” Such feelings serve to keep me perplexed.

That’s why I love new beginnings. It doesn’t have to be the beginning of a new year to give me a push in the right direction. It could simply be the beginning of the next hour. Or the next day. The point I want to make here is that as long as the Lord breathes life in us, there is still a chance to make things right. To make a new start. To do a soul-cleansing do-over.

To keep things simple, I will use the New Year as the perfect opportunity for us to do some deep-cleansing, soul searching. I must admit; it feels so good once I have confronted the creepy thoughts that seem to want to keep me from forgiving. It is no wonder that when you forgive those who have wronged you, you become the beneficiary. Forgiving heals the forgiver.

Forgiving and thankfulness go together. One can’t forgive without having a thankful heart. A thankful heart is a healthy heart. These are simple musings. Yet, they are helpful. First to me, and then hopefully, to you. With this new year, each of us have been given another opportunity to help make the world a better place. I speak from the heart. If each one reaches out to another person in love and respect, that will be a great start.

As I write this column, I am reminded that once, a long time ago, someone told me I was a dreamer. That nobody lived like I wanted to live — without strife and envy and jealousy. That there were no happy marriages and that it was a natural thing for people to fight and hate each other. I rebuked that notion then, and I rebuke it now. We can live respectful and cordial with each other. It doesn’t take much — just a little bit of treating others the way we want to be treated, and by taking the time to think before we act.

I know people who are mean-spirited and make excuses for being so. They will say, “I’m just frank. I say what I think.” And I say, there is no excuse for rudeness.

While I said I won’t attempt to make a New Year’s resolution, I will make a gigantic attempt to better myself. I will start with being more thankful for what God has already done for me. As I look back over the past year, I realize that I have never gone to bed without having something to eat (unless I was fasting); the bills, somehow, got paid, and I am able to help someone else from time to time.

I am thankful for having good neighbors who seem to really appreciate me. I am thankful for being almost 81, and still able to write this column. I am thankful for you, who read it each week, sometimes letting me know your thoughts, and for the editors who think it is worth publishing.

I am thankful for my family; that over the past year, I wasn’t awakened with a sad phone call informing me that someone had died.

I am thankful that, with all its ills, I live in America, where some of us are yet trying to make this a better country. I am thankful that I didn’t wake up to the bombs of war bursting around me.

I am thankful that I can see — even the weeds in my yard and to behold the beauty of the tiny flowers they bear. I am thankful that I can hear the crisp and melodic song of the birds in the oak tree in my backyard.

I am thankful for wonderful memories; for being blessed to be a mom, not only to my biological children, but to the many others that I have “mothered” over the years.

I am thankful for the person or persons (they wish to remain anonymous), who for the past five or six years, have paid for my car to be washed — in my yard. And thanks to Mr. Peter, who comes religiously every Saturday to wash it, never giving away the identity of those who pay him to do so.

I am thankful to my late son Rick’s friends — Greg Goree and his son Rodney, Dan Brown and Harry Daniels — who decided it was time for my house to be painted and did the job without charging me a cent. They even bought the paint.

Most of all, I am thankful for this new year; this new beginning. And I am thankful for you.

Documentary screening

Trinity Cathedral invites the community to its Epiphany Supper and Movie at 5 p.m. Sunday in Cathedral Hall, 464 NE 16th St, Miami.

Two new groups at the Cathedral — the Young Adults and the LGTBQ groups — will jointly sponsor the event and provide a pot-luck supper, which will be followed by the screening of the James Franco-executive produced documentary, “Voices Beyond The Wall: Twelve Love poems From The Murder Capital of the World.”

The documentary is about orphanage Our Little Roses in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. It features Cathedral friend and poet the Rev. Spencer Reece, and the girls from the orphanage.

Afterlife Discussion Group

You are invited to join the Afterlife Discussion Group at their meeting 1 p.m. Jan. 12 at the West Dade Regional Library, on the second floor in the Children’s Reading Room, 9445 Coral Way, Miami.

The group offers free open forums where members share their expertise to discuss any and all subjects relating to the afterlife. Everyone is welcome.

Happy birthday

Happy birthday wishes to Bishop Walter H. Richardson, pastor and overseer of The Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness) in Liberty City for more than a half century.

The bishop, 96 on Saturday, Jan. 5, will be honored in a special service at 10 a.m. Sunday in the sanctuary at 1351 NW Sixth St. in Liberty City. Following the service, there will be a luncheon in his honor at the Arcola Lake Community Center.