Several Day Blog

I just realized that today was Cinco de Mayo. A very exciting day, indeed. Tonight, I will be without a Corona in hand, however, but I am thinking about making Mexican food tonight for dinner. I'd say that counts.

Upon realizing that today was, in fact, Cinco de Mayo, I also noticed that my older sister celebrated her 30th birthday this past weekend. Since I didn't even notice until today (her birthday was on the 2nd), it's pretty obvious to me that I still don't miss her. I'm still okay with that, too.

Now it's May 11. It's never taken me this long to write a blog, but I've avoiding this one. On purpose. It's a several day blog.

I don't talk about her much. In fact, I don't talk about her at all. I don't have any pictures of her and the memories that are left are fuzzy and gray. Most people don't even know that I have two sisters. Sometimes I don't know that I have two sisters...

We used to ride bikes together. We would have Barbie fashion shows and go swimming and play basketball and swing on the swing set. When times were good, that is...

She joined the Navy when she was 17, in order to "get the hell out of here." She would tell stories to people about how my mother was an alcoholic and beat her. She would say that she had to sleep on the floor while me and my younger sister got to sleep in a bed. She said all kinds of horrible things about our family that weren't true. We didn't know then that she was sick. We didn't know that she didn't know what she was doing. We thought she was evil.

At 19 years old, she was married to her second husband. In May of 1999, she called my mother at 2 a.m. to tell her that she was pregnant, and my mom hung up on her. The conversation had quickly turned from disbelief on my mom's part to my sister screaming at her through the phone "why aren't you happy for me?!" My nephew, William, was born in February the following year.

It wasn't long before my sister left her second husband, and her baby, to go be with another man. She'd been in and out of jail for numerous crimes against the Navy and later was dishonorably discharged. My parents assumed custody of William when he was 15 months old when his father couldn't afford to take care of him alone.

My sister found out about my parents' custody a few years later and launched a massive three year custody battle which, thankfully, she abandoned for completely unknown reasons.

My sister has Bipolar Disorder and is non-compliant with meds. I noticed the other day there was a special about it on TV, and I had to turn it off. I couldn't watch, because those stories were so close to home, it sent chills up my spine. Her story could go on for several more blogs, but no one wants to read about horrible people. No one wants to see what an awful person she had become, and what she did to those that loved her. I thought horrible things about her. I wanted her dead. I hated her. Passionately. She poisoned my life with rage and contempt.

I think all of this is coming out because my grandmother's birthday was Sunday. I think about her a lot. Every day, in fact. She talked about my sister often and prayed that she would come back a changed person. I once asked my grandmother if she really wanted that, after all that my sister had done. She looked me in the eye, and said "She needs forgiveness more than anyone."

Normally I don't quote scripture, but this one sticks in my mind. After my grandmother told me that my sister needed forgiveness, she went to her bible and read me this:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." Matthew 18: 21-35

That last sentance really is what I remember most from my grandmother's lesson. Forgiveness is not easy. It's taken me several years to do it. I forgive her. She doesn't know what she's done and doesn't understand what the result was. But her slate is clean in my heart. This doesn't mean that I want her to appear on my doorstep tomorrow. This doesn't mean that I want her to come be a part of my life again. It just means that I have no contempt for her. Not any more. The sister that I used to play with and have fun with doesn't exist anymore. And I'm okay with that.

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