I held her hand for a little while. I sat beside her, hugged her a bit, kissed her cheek and let go a few tears beside her wheel chair.
What is more horrible than feeling unloved?
What is more awful than being ignored, ridiculed or rejected?
What is more empty than loneliness?
There is something.
I sat still today and thought. I thought about how hard it is to react rightly toward someone.
It is not lack of love, or absence of friendship. It is an old wound I never let heal.
This person showed me distance when I needed to lean, and shadows when I needed perspective. This person showed me indifference when I vocalized a need for acceptance and held out a platitude when I needed a psalm.
But I was worse.
No matter how sharp their weapon, or how accurate their blow, I made them a greater victim because...
...there is nothing worse than unforgiveness.
It wasn't that I refused, I just didn't see that I held their actions so tightly. I was waiting...
...waiting for a chance to let them know what they had done. Surely, they would be sorry if they knew.
I wanted their apology, I wanted to hear them correct their mistake toward me because somehow I knew that if they simply knew how much they had hurt me, they would want to change.
Change isn't mine to offer though. I cannot change anyone.
As long as I held on to my idea of redemption, my friend was not free to change.
I was holding on to God's opportunity to change her. He told me that vengeance is His, but I wasn't looking for vengeance, I just wanted an apology. I wanted to hear my friend announce she was sorry. To see that she was sorry. Inside I was silently believing..."She'll be sorry," but I didn't see that as vengeance.
It was vengeance anyway, and I was wrong to hang on to it.
No, I didn't get even, I didn't fight back, I didn't even run away, but I was wrong.
Very, very wrong.
No matter how deep the wound made in me, there is nothing worse than unforgiveness.
And when it is let go, it is like windows opening to spring.
When the soul gone dry receives water, when the white knuckles have received blood again, it makes the heart soft, the hand useable.
Oh the joy of seeing life rush back into a relationship. Not one word was said, but I immediately saw the change I was longing for. There was no apology, only a decision to burn the list of wrongs and love without a short leash tied to a root of bitterness. I saw friendship where it had always been, I was simply blinded to it before. I saw care, laughter, fun and encouragement where it had always been, I just couldn't appreciate it when I had bound it in a noose of conditions, requirements and expectation.
Forgiveness freed me and her. Forgiveness is eyes to see.
Forgiveness shatters the walls of bondage and leaves behind the deception that it was good enough to live in the darkness.
There is nothing worse than unforgiveness.
Sun to the south hitting the bare white branches hard against the charcoal gray clouds hovering in the north. Love that sight. I was swept up in it this morning as I drove home from dropping off the boys at school. That dark cloud started throwing down tiny white pellets of snow as I got closer to home.
How does white snow fall from black clouds?
It felt like a new day. Not just another day, but a new day. A day to see things better. A day to finish what was unfinished. A day to conquer and stand up to the piles of overwhelming good things and bring them down to a filtered form of themselves that is so much smaller, and gleams in the wonder of best.
I needed a new day today.
I won't go into my week, I will only say that my bones have been distractingly sore.
"Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24 (NIV)
Owen read that to me this morning, all curled up in his favorite red fuzzy blanket on the couch. I laid on the floor beneath the kaleidoscope of a quilt made from my great-grandmother's hand stitched triangles and squares of cotton. Heating pad beneath my back and feet propped up on the seat of the couch. Remarkably comfortable on a cold morning.
Gracious words will heal these bones I thought...but I can't force people to give me gracious words. This is a prescription I can't fill.
Yet, I can at least give them. Why not? I packed lunches and directed breakfast. I instructed, motivated and hurried little boys to school, "let's leave early and drive slow so we don't slide on the ice," I said.
Then on the way I told them how well they would do. I told them how much I love them and how dear they are to me. I prayed for them to be helping and inspiring. I prayed over their spelling words and their Bible tests. I prayed. And Gracious words were pouring out in and around my world.
My bones are still sore, but I know that gracious words do quiet work. Words of forgiveness, gratitude, joy, reverence and peace are warming my tired flesh and creating harmony in all that God created in me.
Sometimes the prescription we need is in our own mouth. Our healing is often a Truth that needs utterance and our joy looks up to find the sun beating hard on bone white branches against the overwhelming charcoal gray. No matter how dark the clouds, the light finds a way to show me beauty and wonder of wonders, white snowflakes continue to fall from black clouds.
I sat with him, stroking his thick brown hair, running my fingers up and down his arm...long, but small at this beginning of awkward size he has reached at 10.
He was home, sick, today and asked for a movie, not just a movie though...he wanted me to watch with him.
Funny how that hasn't changed. He loves presence, feeds on touch, notices absence and craves interaction. He always has. Even as a baby, I could see his eyes look deep for connection. He was content and slept alone, but he nursed long, snuggled deep and gazed while I rocked his tired soul to sleep.
I did have a few "have to" chores, but met him in the living room as soon as I could. I wasn't snuggled up close with him. His stomach bug was more than I wanted. I was near though. Near enough to reach him once in a while and remind him he's loved.
A fever follows the interruption of a virus. He was warm. He was flushed and still. I encouraged him to enjoy quiet. To sleep some, read some, rest much...and he was ready to cooperate. No arguments to napping at all.
We lit a fire in the fireplace, the cool rain outside seemed to beg for a warmer environment inside, we needed that fire. He ate homemade cran-apple gelatin and I crunched on toasted homemade bread, and we lost ourselves in Narnia for a while.
He told me about his book, and listened while I explained a story in the book of Samuel.
We laughed a little, and twice he ran to the bathroom to free his stomach again. Each time he quietly waited while I warmed a clean washrag in hot water so he could bathe his face. He never complained, just shrugged and said, "I think I feel a little better."
I asked a lot of questions. "Do you want anything?" was repeated a lot.
I sat through an episode of a cartoon I could live without, folded laundry on the floor and brought him a glass of water.
The dishes waited. The floors still need the broom. The dust is still there and the windows are no less smudged.
In fact, if someone asked me what I did today, I'd probably say, "nothing,"
...but I wouldn't mean it at all.
A few years back I had a strange morning. A morning in which the backhand of criticism and the forehand of encouragement both took their shots. In a matter of minutes I was presented with two scenarios, I am either a poor example of protection and security over my children, or a rich one.
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