The Red Tent theme for March got me thinking and pondering ways that I have and have not asked for forgiveness and what forgiveness looks like.
While contemplating subject matter, themes of wife-ing, mothering, daughtering, and friending all came to mind. There are many ways that I have failed in each category, many people. Some knowingly, others unknowingly.
Who has been wronged by me? Who have I failed to notice or go to? These questions stirred inside as I opened the laptop to begin writing. What do the words forgive me stir? That was the question. How can I connect my own experience to universal human experience with honor, honesty, kindness, and grace?
A clear picture began to come into focus, a face, a blend of faces, a pattern revealed to me through the words of friends. Who is not important, because the themes are universal and the hurts are real.
I began writing, connecting, finding direction.
Relationships are messy. Anytime we choose to enter in and really connect, we risk hurt. Anytime we show that side of self that is vulnerable, we risk having it used against us. Anytime we let our guard down, we risk hearing what we would rather not.
The challenge is to stay soft. To stay quick to ask for forgiveness, even when it is not natural or easy.
Many of us didn’t grow up in an environment where forgive me was modeled well. If you did, what a gift you received! My own children did not experience good modeling, especially the first bunch of babies. The second bunch has been parented differently, and yet, modeling the asking for and receiving of forgiveness is hard.
There was an explosion in the hallway and up the stairs the other night as one child discovered that something of theirs had been misused by another. When I asked the offended what was wrong, righteous anger poured out, and rightly so.
Though I was quick to think, Well, if you hadn’t have left your item out, it wouldn’t have been mistaken for another. That is why we put things away, etc., etc., and yadda, yadda. What growth in me that those words only fell on my husband’s ears as we were trying to figure out the mess.
Going to the others to figure out what happened, the culprit admitted thinking that the object was really something else, and understandably. This particular child and the other have a rather rocky history, and I dreaded trying to get them to work it out. Both stand their ground and don’t give in easily to anything.
Surprisingly, the offender went to the offended. I heard it happen right outside of my door.
I’m sorry for ~. I thought it was ~. Would you forgive me?
It was an intense moment for my mama heart. I was in my room resting, and I burst into sobs witnessed by my husband as he walked into our room.
That was sweet, wasn’t it?
Understatement. Yes. Growth. Redemption.