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by Abigail Van Buren

Forgiveness Is Divine Idea During Week of Reflection

DEAR ABBY: I love reading your column. A couple of years ago, I read a piece on forgiveness and realized that, like many other people, I don't know how to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Your column helped. Would you please run it again? -- MRS. G.S.K.P., LAKE WORTH, FLA.

DEAR MRS. G.S.K.P.: Pleased to oblige. Since this is International Forgiveness Week, your letter is timely. The poem you requested was written by George Roemisch.


Forgiveness is the wind-blown bud

which blooms in placid beauty at Verdun.

Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow

which has built its nest of twigs and string

among the shards of glass upon the wall of shame.

Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy

beneath the toothed fence that closes in Da Nang.

Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet

which still clings fast to the heel that crushed it.

Forgiveness is the broken dream

which hides itself within the corner of the mind

oft called forgetfulness so that it will not bring

pain to the dreamer.

Forgiveness is the reed

which stands up straight and green

when nature's mighty rampage halts, full spent.

Forgivness is a God who will not leave us

after all we've done.

So, dear readers, a gentle reminder: If perchance you are the "heel" that crushed a violet -- this is the week to seek forgiveness.

DEAR ABBY: I received a down comforter for Christmas. It has done such a great job of keeping me toasty warm, I wake in the middle of the night sweating. Yet if I throw off the comforter, I find myself freezing again. (My parents gave me the comforter because I constantly complained about how cold the house is.)

One of my friends suggested that I sleep in the nude. She started doing it herself after she got an electric blanket. I tried it a few times and it works. I no longer wake up sweating.

I am writing because I feel guilty about sleeping in the nude. Nobody knows that I sleep in the nude. I keep a full-length robe that completely conceals my body to slip on when I get out of bed, but I still fear that I'm doing something wrong. My friend, who also sleeps in the nude, tried to reassure me that what I am doing is not immoral -- and she is more active in our church than I am. But it hasn't erased my doubts. Can you help? I want to continue sleeping in the nude, but want to do so guilt-free. -- NAKED UNDER THE FEATHERS

DEAR NAKED: As long as you sleep alone, why should you feel guilty? Sleeping in the nude is harmless. It's neither indecent nor immoral. And since you keep a bathrobe handy, I see no reason why you shouldn't continue if you're more comfortable that way.

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