Forgive a Potato?
In this week's the Young@ Heart article and video, I wrote about an essay on forgiveness. Last week you saw the result of that essay in the Potato Report.
Is there anything yuckier than a rotten potato? You know that saying, “one rotten apple spoils the barrel”? Well give me a rotten apple any day! One rotten potato would smell way worse than a barrel of rotten apples. One potato would affect the whole bag, but that usually doesn’t happen because of the smell! I don’t think I could let a whole bag “go” just because the stench of one rotten potato is enough for a call to action.
I got an email from a woman who said her teacher (spiritual) asked the students to bring a clear plastic sack of potatoes to class. Each potato representing someone they hadn’t forgiven in life. In class they were asked to write the name of each person they had not forgiven on each potato. Some of the bags were quite heavy.
They were asked to carry their bag with them everywhere, putting it beside their bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to their desk at work until they could forgive the people the potatoes represented. The woman wrote, “The hassle of lugging my bag of unforgiven people around, made it clear, what a weight I was carrying spiritually, and how I had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget, leaving it in embarrassing places.”
Naturally, the condition of the potatoes would deteriorate to a disgusting gunk if you didn’t let go and forgive. This is a great metaphor for the price we pay for holding onto our grievances toward others.
So after reading the email I thought about those in my life for whom I needed to forgive. There were two people I thought of without any effort. I decided to think of myself and these two as if we were potatoes. Now if I didn’t forgive the two potatoes, I myself would be rotting and I’d affect those who live in the sack with me because I wouldn’t be as loving as I could be. (Terry my potato husband is the only one in the sack with me, (ahemm) and I know he is affected by my negative feelings toward the two potatoes I haven’t forgiven or even seen in five years!
So, I decided to cut a russet in half and put the halves on my desk with the names of the “unforgiven” on the halves. They are going to sit on my desk until I have completely forgiven them. The halves will show me what’s happening on the inside of me. They will also illustrate what I’m doing to the potato I love and share my life with not to mention my potato friends and family who have had to listen to the tales about these two “evil” potatoes who have “seemingly” wronged me. I also know I can’t afford to let this metaphor rot before my eyes AND nose.
I will report back, what’s happening on my desk (and in me), but I challenge you to join me in this experiment. I intend to have fun with this. I have even come up with a reward for the forgivings; a wonderful trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (Idaho is a big potato-growing state and one of my favorite places) where Terry and I will enjoy the freedom that comes with forgiveness.
I know that forgiving is a natural ability we were born with and getting in touch with that ability can happen in a blink or a lifetime, it’s up to us how long it takes. I have faith in myself that as the russet deteriorates and the carrot of a get-away to Coeur d’Alene hangs before me it will be closer to a blink than a lifetime.