Friday, March 26, 2010

The Atonement

Dearest Readers,

Do you have a favourite movie? I have several but if I had to narrow it down to one right now I'd have to say Atonement. I've probably seen it 10 times and could easily see it ten more.

Yesterday, after a full day of doing the hardest thing first I was exhausted and in need of a break. So I watched my favourite movie.

As you may know, the film, based on a novel of the same name written by Ian McEwan, is about a young girl who separates her sister and her sister's lover forever when she names him for a crime he didn't commit. She atones for her "sin" by writing a novel that gives them a life of happiness together.

It's devastating. And devastatingly good.

The dictionary on this computer defines "atonement" as "reparation for a wrong or injury; reparation or expiation for sin (religion)." In Christian Theology the Atonement is "the reconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ."

As a teenager, I was a thief. I stole merchandise from stores and money from employers, family and friends. It's not easy for me to admit this to you but I am able do so freely today because I am no longer ashamed.

I have found freedom from that shame by atoning for my wrongs. I have admitted my thievery to those that I robbed and I've paid each and every one of them back.

Making those amends was terrifying and sick-making but once done, I was free. One of the most amazing things about getting honest with people on this level is their reaction. One thinks they will chastise and judge, cast stones even. My experience has been just the opposite.

Here is an excerpt of a letter from the manager of a store where I stole a bunch of stuff in my youth. He wrote to me after receiving the money I owed him, included with my own letter of amends:

"I am glad that you are able to come to terms with some of the things in your past. I have posted your letter on my staff bulletin board and I believe that you will be an inspiration to my staff. It is never easy to admit and rectify any wrongdoings but I do firmly believe that it does cleanse the soul.

I have decided to make a donation to a charity on your behalf so your monies will be going to a great cause.

I wish you well in your journeys and if you are ever back in the city, please don't hesitate to drop by."

Does that not blow your mind?

Maybe Atonement is my favourite movie because I can relate to the character of the girl, who lives with her guilt until she can't anymore and then tries to make it right as best she can. Maybe it's because it's just a damn fine film. Either way, it cleanses my soul each time I see it.

Inspiring Message of the Day: We can find freedom from shame through atonement. It's a way out of the darkness of the past to the light of the present. To freedom and hope and joy.

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