Ongoing Grace –
One of the hardest acts in life is letting go of the expectation of an apology from someone who has hurt, offended us. Many times, we never receive what we are tempted to think we deserve.
Not too long ago I received a surprising apology from someone who had hurt me years ago. They asked for forgiveness and I gave it to them. However, apologies can be tricky. When someone expresses regret about an action or harmful words our ability to forgive has much to do with our place on the journey of forgiveness. Saying the words; “I forgive you.” helps but rarely completely, instantly heals the wounds.
Since the apology, there have been moments of pain when I am reminded the wounds are still healing. Times when memories are relived and the urge to fall back into negative thoughts patterns, judgmental attitudes are present. It is here, on our journey, we realize forgiveness is not a one-time act or phrase but a process, an ongoing combination of acts, words, and intent of spirit. There are seasons, moments, instances when the past impresses itself on the present. Wisdom teaches us not to ignore, resent, or seek escape but to let it be a reminder that forgiveness in an ongoing act of grace.
I stopped by the grocery store on the way back into town today from a presentation on Fatherhood. I needed to pick up coffee and pop-tarts, everything a middle-aged man needs for a healthy breakfast. It took me two minutes to find and grab the items off the shelf and head to the register. Making good time, all was going to plan. Second in line I smiled and then spied what the lady in front of me was purchasing; little calendars, on sale for a minuscule amount and she was buying every one she could get her hands on. The clerk was scanning each of them individually and there had to be at least a hundred. “Sorry,” the calendar buying woman said to me and I gave her a smile of; “that’s OK,” but inside I was like; “you got to be kidding me!” When the clerk was finally done the lady used two different cards to buy her items and forgot to get cash back. So I waited some more as she bought a pack of Tic-Tacs.
Patience; life has a way of trying to teach us and we have a way of resenting the lesson. After checking out myself I headed to the truck and couldn’t help but roll my eyes and laugh.