“This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.”
April 6, 2020
One theme in my upcoming novel, The Counterfeiter’s Daughter, is the importance of fellowship. I write on the subject from personal experience. I’ve led a life of independence and, in many seasons of my life, a solitary existence. More than ever it is a relevant subject during our current crisis of a pandemic. The truth is, there is a large population of lonely and isolated people in the world, living with this daily reality. Some are only recently struggling with depression and loneliness as directed to stay at home to flatten the curve. As soon as they drop the orders, many will go back to their regular lives of thriving in social scenarios and gathering in fellowship. Others that are suffering will remain alone, depressed, anxious and silent.
I challenge my readers that are in a temporary state of isolation to discover and reach out to someone suffering with loneliness within your family, work environment, neighborhood and community. Send them a handwritten note, text, call, message them on social media, and let them know you’re thinking of them. If possible, invite them over for a cup of tea, out for coffee or schedule a movie at the theater or your home, depending on their comfort levels. It is imperative to live outside of our “own little worlds”. Set down your phone once in a while, take a break from streaming and binge watching, acknowledge the people around you and have a face -to -face conversation with people.
My main character, Madelyn Brighton, wears a brave face. She is authentic and genuinely cares with a tender heart for people. Especially, neglected, abused, abandoned women and children. Madelyn has no family that she is aware of and although she lives in the overcrowded city of Orange County, California, she feels an emptiness, an unbearable loneliness that she keeps tucked away deep inside and buried behind protective, emotional walls she built for herself. It takes her to be forced into a situation beyond her control to experience heartfelt help, encouragement, and allow herself to partake in the beauty of true friendship along with the gift of gathering in fellowship.
Hopefully something in this blog has resonated with you and you’ll feel compelled to take action. Whether you are a social butterfly that is temporarily caged or are like Madelyn Brighton, living the daily hardship of an isolated life, I implore to take notice of how serious and detrimental loneliness has on mental, physical and spiritual health. If you’ve only now recognized how connected humanity is through our worldwide suffering, consider it a wake up call that we are in this together and we need each other. Please love well and generously.
Thank you for taking the time to visit my website and read my blog. If you enjoyed this post or would like to be kept updated with news about my books and exclusive content, please click on the subscribe button for my newsletter. Stay home and healthy. Take a deep breath, hug those you can at the moment, and be grateful for the gift of today.
“Your best chance for moving on is to accept forgiveness doesn’t change the person forgiven, it changes you.” – Jake Nolan, The Counterfeiter’s Daughter
May 27, 2020
Many factors come into play when addressing the word and meaning of forgiveness. In The Counterfeiter’s Daughter Madelyn Brighton wrestles with the emotional battle of feeling burdened by her estranged father’s offenses in the past. She expresses a longing to be set free and makes choices based on her attempts to forget her father’s wrongdoings. Deciding to forgive requires a separation of feelings and actions. We tend to place our emotions at the forefront of making decisions in our lives. Emotionally charged thinking will lead to a prolonged sense of disappointment.
To forgive a person or an offense involves a purposeful action. The individual must choose their course of personal resolution. It’s often assumed that forgive and forget are interchangeable. In my opinion that erroneous approach leads to the dissatisfaction of missing the feeling of freedom. The goal is to discover the route that allows you to achieve your autonomy by staring the offenses down and accepting they can’t be changed or hidden away. The sense of freedom comes from the psychological effects of forgiveness. A mental healing begins with the course of action to forgive.
I’m speaking with being an authority on my experiences and personal testimony. The path I chose to forgive the offense I incurred against me and my kids was to recognize the hurt, destruction and lifelong mental impact imposed on us wouldn’t change the offender. However, if I continued to hold on to resentment, it would’ve created irrevocable damage to myself and my children. Suppressing bitterness has a deep emotional consequence that manifests itself throughout our lives, even if we’re unaware of the repercussions.
Jake Nolan, a major character in The Counterfeiter’s Daughter, offers Madelyn biblical advice on forgiving her father’s misdeeds. Jake expresses he’s only capable to offer forgiveness with the faith-based truth that he can forgive offenses toward him with the knowledge his transgressions are first forgiven by God. He also claims that he falls short in this area and other aspects of his life too. Jake suggests that Madelyn choose a path that brings her peace by stating, “Your best chance for moving on is to accept forgiveness doesn’t change the person forgiven, it changes you.”
The concept Jake explains is based on the transliterated Greek word aphesis, used sixteen times in the New Testament. In most of the passages it is in references to the offender admitting their transgressions and repenting of their behavior. Jake is acutely aware forgiveness takes place after confessing our indiscretions to God and letting go. Jake’s choice of drawing from the use of aphesis in scripture illustrates it requires a conditional action to achieve freedom.
Since this is a simple blog about the theme of forgiveness in my book, I will not write a dissertation on the use of forgiveness in the New Testament. For starters, we translate four Greek words with one English word and therefore require an extensive study of the usage of all four translations to understand each rendering for a clear conception of forgiveness in the bible. I’ll clarify that I’m not recommending excusing and keeping abusive people in your life. I also reference the Greek transliterated word apoluo, used sixty-two times in the New Testament. Fourteen times it appears regarding setting free, letting go and in most passages refers to divorce.
In conclusion, regardless of the translation of the word forgive or forgiveness, one thing is always necessary to achieve inner peace- accept that you’ve been forgiven, whether you’re a believer in God and received grace or someone you’ve wronged in your life has forgiven you and you’ll make a distinct decision to forgive based on action rather than emotions.
Thanks for joining me on my writing journey. I hope you’re all doing well, remaining healthy and reading books while staying at home!
Please subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free prepublication copy of a short story about Jake Nolan, written for oursharedtales.com, scheduled to post on June 22nd. 2020. You can also pre-order The Counterfeiter’s Daughter, available July 5th, and experience Jake’s adventures and personal growth.