This Sunday morning I had to extend and ask for forgiveness all within fifteen minutes.
One person said something that unintentionally hurt my heart (he had no idea that what he said plunged a knife in it) and then I overstepped in making an event public before making sure it was definitely on the calendar.
It could have meant I walked away offended and upset.
But I didn’t.
Instead I was honest with the person who upset me about what he said and why it hurt. He apologized immediately and I was quick to accept it. And when I realized I had offended the other person, I asked for her forgiveness and she granted it too.
I find it’s easier for me to do both- ask for and extend forgiveness-this side of child loss for lots of reasons.
First, I’m learning that I just don’t have the energy to maintain an offense.
Offenses are like very fragile hot house plants-they need lots of tending, protection from the elements and so much time. I used to be good at keeping an offense healthy and vibrant. I would feed it often and refuse to subject it to the harsh winds of real life where it could be shown for what it was-not worth the energy or effort!
It’s so much easier to wipe the slate clean and begin again.
Second, I’m learning that since grief wears me down in so many ways, I don’t have the resources to maintain my own mask, keep up my own pretense of always being in a good mood, smiling and having the right words to say. So I make mistakes, step on toes and feelings with a fair degree of regularity and NEED forgiveness often myself.
I can hardly expect others to extend to me what I withhold from them!
Third, I’m learning that the only thing worse than finding out someone I care about is beyond reach is hearing that news knowing I never made things right when it was within my power to do so.
When you’re expecting your healthy, vibrant, youthful son to pop over on Saturday morning but instead get a knock on the door before sunrise, it changes everything.
Sometimes I don’t heed my own advice.
But when I’m paying attention, listening to my heart and really present, I work hard to keep short accounts with those I love and even those I don’t.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
I don’t want to leave this world owing anybody anything except love.
Love is never satisfied because hearts always need more.
And I am glad to pay it.