Tuesday, April 14, 2015

FORGIVENESS


Do you believe in chance connections? It’s becoming more and more common for me to have experiences with strangers that leave me emotionally gutted. Recently, I was at the San Francisco airport, flying home, when a lady and I got to talking. I mentioned being over-the-moon about seeing my 4 kids and husband, when she mentioned having 4 grandchildren she hasn’t seen in quite some time. I asked if they lived in another state, and sadly she responded, “no, they are only an hour drive from me.” To avoid meddling, I remained quiet, and about a minute later, she went on to say, “It’s me.” I responded, “I doubt that.” She rebutted, “No. Really it is. I’ve made some mistakes in the past and treated her husband badly. And now they’re uninterested in seeing me.”

The agent came over the intercom and asked the passengers to start boarding. I hugged my new friend so tightly – like I would an old high school mate I hadn’t seen in a while and whispered, “I hope you get a second chance.”

Forgiveness is the biggest game changer of all, folks. And I cannot help but encourage those who will listen, to try it. I don’t know the in’s and out’s of your personal story, but I know what it is like to have someone, particularly a family member, hurt your heart and that of your family’s. I've mentioned this a few times, but personally, our family has carried a set of battle scars inflicted by an in-law of mine, and forgiveness has been anything but easy street. Repeatedly we forgive, and repeatedly she offends. I believe our presence is now a reminder to her just how ugly she's been over the years, and now it's developed into a habit she can't stop. The latest gut punch was opting not to include us in her son's birthday festivities, but telling everyone else that she had, to save face. These stealth-like antics of hers are oh so frequent, and sadly, we've grown accustom to them.

I recently read that forgiveness doesn’t sit there like a pretty boy in a bar. Instead, it is the old fat guy you have to haul up a hill. I laugh when I think about that, but it’s true. It’s grueling. It’s ugly. It is blood, sweat and tears. Yet necessary if you ever want to fly again.

Say the words, “I forgive him/her for [blank] and I wish him/her well.” Each time you repeat this, the negative emotion attached to the memory will diminish. Soon it will be gone forever. There is too much goodness, too much love, too much possibility to go on feeling animosity. Enough of it. take away the need to be right, to be the winner, to nurture the injury like a little pet, keeping it safe and thriving and growing. Now add grace – undeserved maybe, unexpected perhaps. Persistent, warm, selfless mercy can turn even the biggest ship around. Let us live in the wide open spaces we’ve been granted, and laugh and dance and celebrate and notice the ordinary little wonders we are conditioned to minimize.



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