.           all rights belong to Tanis Harms –
.             refer to

KEEPING LISTS (video) - written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:          forgiveness, bitterness
SCRIPTURE:      Matt.18:21-35
Style:          allegory/conversation:  a person keeps
.               and reads from her journals of all
.               the bad things that others have done
.               to her, her entire life.  She is
.               challenged to forgive and exchange
.               those books for the Bible.
Cast:           middle-aged woman, pastor
.               (if different age, change the dates)
Props:          diaries, Bible


(WOMAN approaches a table full of diaries.
Picking out one, she sets the others down and announces.)

W     Today’s rehashing will be taken from
.     “The Log of Crimes Committed by - Amber Wilson
.     Against Lisa Hatcher”.

(WOMAN clears her throat then begins reading from
the diary with an haughty, self-righteous attitude.)

W     Incident #3:  1966, July.
.     The culprit:  Amber Wilson.
.     Location:     a neighborhood sandbox.
.     My faux pas:  not following the ridiculous
.     procedures of a 4-year-old’s tea party.
.     The crime:    Amber Wilson throws sand in my eyes.
.     To this day I still have problems tearing up.

(WOMAN turns the page and reads.)

W     Incident #4:  1966, still July.
.     The culprit:  still Amber Wilson.
.     Location:     the neighborhood boulevard.
.     My goal:      to innocently collect worms
.     in order to feed the birds.
.     The crime:    Amber Wilson dumps them all out
.     on the cold, hard, concrete sidewalk.
.     I am still emotionally scarred.

(WOMAN turns the page and reads.)

W     Incident #5:  1966, August -
.                                                      2
(WOMAN looks out at the congregation.)

W     Oh?  What happened to incident 1 and 2?
.     I don’t remember - but I’m pretty certain
.     AMBER WILSON did SOMETHING horrendous to me.
.     She ALWAYS did.  And she knew me for over 17 years,
.     so it’s a long list.  Like later, in 1978 –
.     incident #869 –

(WOMAN leafs through the diary and stops.)

W     And - this is still – all about Amber Wilson
.     and what she did to me.
.     On this particular occasion,
.     in front of a large group of kids,
.     Amber Wilson made fun of my jumpsuit.

(WOMAN looks out at the congregation.)

W     What?  YOU think it’s funny too?
.     I’ll have you know, back then,
.     jumpsuits were very fashionable.
.     But what Amber Wilson said, and how she said it,
.     made me feel this small.  (motion with fingers)
.     I just wanted to die.

(WOMAN looks up.)

W     I’m not being dramatic.

(WOMAN looks out.)

W     Really!  My life would have been so much better
.     had it not been for all the bullies in my life.

(WOMAN goes through her diaries and holds up one.)

W     My list against Bruce Dempsey.
.     It’s a fairly long list, also.

(WOMAN holds up a bigger diary.)

W     But my LONGEST list would be against –

(WOMAN looks up.)

W     What?  I can’t just forgive them
.     and let it go!

(WOMAN looks at the diary and hugs it close.)           3

W     These are the miseries that have shaped my life.
.     This is the proof of all the injustices
.     that have been committed against me.
.     I might need these lists someday – like if THEY
.     ever should bring out THEIR lists – against m-

(WOMAN looks up.)

W     Haaa-ha, you almost had me admit
.     that I’m not perfect.

(WOMAN looks out.)

W     Well, of course I’m not PERFECT...

(WOMAN spends a moment thinking.)

W     I guess I’ve done some things to those people, too.
.     And they have probably suffered some injustices
.     from other people...  They could be hurting,
.     just like me.

(WOMAN looks up and hugs her diary again.)

W     But it still doesn’t change the fact
.     that I was hurt!  How can I forgive all that?

(WOMAN looks out.)

W     YOU understand what I’m talking about.
.     If we just forgave everyone,
.     WHAT would we hold on to?
.     And HOW could we ever compare ourselves to anyone?
.     HOW - could we ever feel GOOD about ourselves?

(WOMAN looking up angrily.)

W     I KNOW You have a list against me.
.     And it’s probably a long one.

(WOMAN becomes confused and humbled.)

W     Wait.  It doesn’t matter to You –
.     how long it is?  Or what is on it?
.     You would forgive my entire list?
.     All I have to do is - ask and believe.

(WOMAN looks down in prayer.)                           4

W     Then, I do ask... I ask You to forgive me-
.     and I do believe.

(WOMAN looks up with hope and amazement.)

W     Now what?!  Give up my books?  My lists?
.     Forgive everyone who has ever hurt me?

(WOMAN grips the diary.)

W     Well, maybe just some of them.

(WOMAN takes a few diaries in hand and tries
to throw them into the garbage, finally looking up.)

W     Yes, I suppose You CAN help me with that.
.     I guess it’s only fair - You forgave ME
.     for everything, and threw away my list.

(WOMAN throws the few diaries into the garbage.)

W     I do feel – better – lighter –
.     like a load has been lifted off my shoulders.

(WOMAN looks up.)

W     But can’t I just hang on to SOME of these books -
.     just in case?

(WOMAN gathers up the rest of the diaries into her arms.)

W     They’re not THAT heavy.  I think.  (looks up)
.     What other book?  There’s another book?
.     Just one book – to replace all of THESE?

(WOMAN looks back at her diaries, then sees a Bible
on the table.  She picks it up and starts to read it.)

W     That would mean I could leave my past behind me,
.     and move on.  So - I give You all these books
.     of misery that have shaped my life up until now,
.     and You will give me a new book, which will rebuild
.     my life with wisdom, peace, hope and love.

(WOMAN tries to turn the Bible’s pages but can’t.
Looking from Bible to diaries, she finally throws
the rest of the diaries away, so she can turn the page.
She exits while reading.)