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Goodbye Jesus

The Approach


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The Approach


“The important thing is forgiveness,” says Louise as she hefts another stack of papers and drops them neatly into the box at her feet. She is sitting on the living room couch, books and files and loose paper scattered around her as she sorts through the lot and packs it away into neatly labelled boxes. The box at her feet has College 2001 printed in red marker on its side. Across from Louise, her new step-son, Tim, helps sort the textbooks. He keeps one eye on the television screen, absently watching the news as he shuffles through the books.


“That’s what I told Jerry,” Louise says, “when Audrey was killed by that drunk driver that winter. I said, ‘if you don’t forgive then you’ll never heal properly, and you’ll never feel any better. All the experts agree that forgiveness is necessary.’ That’s the first step, you see. You can’t do anything without forgiveness.”


Tim rolls his eyes at this and hands her a book to put in the box. The title of the book is A Psychological Approach to Grief and Coping Mechanisms. Tim feels certain that the book is almost as expensive and useless as it sounds.


“That’s what’s wrong with the world today,” Louise continues, shaking her head at the television, which shows a perky blonde anchorwoman announcing deaths due to a horrific outbreak of violence in Indonesia or Pakistan or Africa or every other place besides North America. Tim tries to imagine a horrific outbreak of violence, but he can only think of flues or acne or all those other things the words “horrific outbreak” usually refer to on television. Things easily cured by Western doctors.


“The problem with the world today,” says Louise, and she stabs a pink-tipped finger at the television screen for emphasis, “is that nobody wants to forgive. They all want their petty arguments, their resentments, their revenges, their jihads. They all want to hold grudges until their insides grow sick and warped. They all want to be eternally angry. It’s just not healthy to live like that.”


She looks to Tim for a nod of agreement, but he is busy watching the news, eyes following the headline scrolling by at the bottom of the screen as it tallies up the dead for the day. Louise decides to try again.


“That’s why Jesus said to forgive seventy-times-seven times. So that we can be healthy and heal ourselves properly, and not turn into a bitter, pain-filled wreck. But nobody wants to listen to Jesus anymore. They just want to stay angry.”


Though he doesn’t plan to, Tim opens his mouth.


“I don’t see what’s wrong with that,” he says.


Louise gives him a stunned look, her hands pause in their sorting.


“What do you mean you can’t see what’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with what?”


“Being angry,” he says. “I mean, it’s okay for someone like Jesus to go around forgiving people left and right, but we aren’t all demigods.”


Louise sputters, as if she might speak at this, but now that Tim is started he can’t seem to stop talking.


“What I mean is, what if forgiveness is like anti-depressants or something?” he says. “Like when someone is depressed and you give him drugs and it makes him feel better. But maybe someone else doesn’t need drugs. Maybe they need therapy or hypnotism or yoga or something and giving them drugs just makes things worse? What if it’s like that?”


Tim looks at Louise and discovers that she’s not picking up papers or books anymore. Her hands are clenched in her lap, the gold wedding band standing out in sharp relief against her white knuckles.


“Tim,” Louise says. She exhales the name sharply, as if she had been punched in the stomach. “Wouldn’t you want to be forgiven if you had done something horrible to someone?”


Tim turns his gaze back to the television in time to catch the latest footage of the latest hotel bombing in Bali. Under the rubble, he can spot luggage and chairs and little hands and feet poking out, all coloured the same chalky grey.


“Sometimes Louise,” he says, “it’s not about what you want.”



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Another good one!! :woohoo:



Forgiveness, the ultimate apathy pill. :scratch:

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