by Joan Hanley
Long before I knew about Edgar Cayce and his lessons on forgiveness of self and others, I was pondering my troubling relationship with my older sister. She was three years older than I and in addition to the older sister birth order hierarchy to deal with, she and I were opposites in “brain dominance.” In other words, she was a left brainer, direct, focused, orderly, and, in my opinion, narrow. By contrast, I was a righty, parallel thinker, messy, arty, and I tacked into the wind to my destinations, rather than take a direct course.
Of course, there would be conflict; who could’ve ever thought otherwise. It was so bad that as very young girls we had had physical encounters, though we had graduated beyond that to distancing ourselves from each other. I didn't like that we were opposed in so many ways, and I understood that our differences were so basic to our very natures that it wasn’t likely that either of us would ever change. At that time, we communicated when necessary, and briefly at that.
After a particularly cool exchange between us, I was just ready. I determined to acknowledge our differences and reach out to her through prayer. Each night I prayed, “I forgive you for any wrongs you may have done me; please forgive me for any I've done you.” Being who I am, I didn't think beyond the prayer to any possible outcomes. It just made me feel better, in my half of the forgiveness equation. It felt so good I kept it up for a long while, maybe five or six weeks nightly.
One night I had a dream in which I stabbed my sister to death, laughing all of the while. I continued to laugh happily as I ran from a posse of dark figures pursuing me. A friend was aghast when I shared the dream with her. “That’s terrible,” she said. “I don’t think so,” I replied. It felt good, like something dark was ended.
A few days later my sister called saying she was coming to visit me—a first. During her visit, she volunteered insights into our young years that were tender and let me see the real person inside of the imaginary one I had created. And I guess I did the same. We parted, still very different women but real sisters at last.
Years later, when I met the idea of forgiveness of self and others as a powerful tool to self understanding and growth through Edgar Cayce's teachings, I thought, “Of course, my experience with my sister was more than a one-time deal, conjured up in desperation. This is a spiritual principal that works every day, all of the time, and is worth making part of my daily life.”
Joan Hanley has been an A.R.E. member for 36 years and has worked with Search for God groups, Area teams, and Atlantis research on Bimini. She is currently a member of the Southeast Region Core Team.