Posts tagged with "forgiveness"

A Test Of Love

So I delet­ed your num­bers off my speed dial. I took down your pic­tures. It was an in-the-moment thing.

I’m calm now, see­ing things objec­tive­ly, yet still unde­cid­ed.

Part of me wants to believe we can still be friends. That we can still hang out with­out me depend­ing on you for any­thing. But I’m not like that, and I don’t stay friends with those on whom I can’t depend.

I put aside my issues for my friends, and I need­ed you to do the same for me.

I cried, not only because you weren’t there when I need­ed you, not only because you had a respon­si­bil­i­ty to my friends as well, but because I nev­er allow those who hurt me so much to be a part of my life. Our friend­ship may be lost, and this is what upsets me the most. Perhaps it hurts so much because you were so impor­tant to me. I don’t want to lose that, but I’ll nev­er for­get what you did and I’ll nev­er trust you again.

And if I can for­give you, you’ll know that I tru­ly love you.

To Eat And To Forgive

It’s Friday. Pizza day. At Louise’s house, the par­ents don’t feel like cook­ing, and the kids get a treat.

The slices are out. The sal­ad’s in the serv­ing bowl. Everyone has an accom­mo­dat­ing fork, nap­kin, and slice. I see Eric move a hand to his face in the cor­ner of my eye, and assume that he’s start­ed eat­ing.

As the guest, this means I’m allowed to eat too. I take a bite out of my slice, but before I can even chew, I real­ize that Eric was just scratch­ing his beard. With a smile on his face, he says “Don’t for­get about grace, Jeff”.

It’s a dou­ble wham­my.

Not only am I a rude guest, mis­tak­en­ly eat­ing first, but I’m a hea­then too, dis­re­spect­ful of their reli­gion.

It remind­ed me of some­thing that hap­pened when I was a teenag­er. Matt was over. Pizza night. As the guest, Matt got the first slice. He wait­ed while the rest were being hand­ed out, but my dad, with­out any sense of for­mal­i­ty, took a bite as soon as he had one. Neither of my par­ents noticed, but there was a star­tled look on Matt’s face. He quick­ly closed his eyes, held a fist to his face (not a clenched one, but as if hold­ing the beads of a Rosary), and said a prayer in his head.

I always imag­ined that it went, “ThankyouGodforthispizzaandformygracioushosts”, because he was done so quick­ly.

It made me won­der, what was in that look? What do those who ask thanks of their meal think of those who don’t? What do Christians think of those who don’t say grace? What do Muslims think of those who don’t fast? Are we unap­pre­cia­tive? Do we take our food for grant­ed?

Eric’s tone is kind though, not con­de­scend­ing or judg­men­tal, as if to say, “We only ask you to do this for the sake of our kids”.

Louise asks Sarah if she’d like to say grace. She sings a song that bears a strik­ing — excuse the pun — resem­blance to the melody of the Westminster quar­ters (along with chore­og­ra­phy).

Hark to the chimes (arms held upwards and open)
Come bow your head (hands togeth­er in prayer)
We thank thee lord (arms upward again)
For this good bread (hands togeth­er again)

But as a sev­en-year-old, Sarah does­n’t know the right words. She says “heart” instead of “hark”. “You” instead of “thee”.

No one men­tions it though. Not every­one is per­fect. One can be for­giv­en.

Even me, I hope.

The Maternal Grudge

Under the guise of some trou­ble with her iPod, the old sec­ond gen­er­a­tion clunk­er that I gave her last Christmas, my moth­er calls me on Saturday, close to mid­night.

I can hear the con­ges­tion in her nose. She’s been cry­ing. It gets lone­ly when you’re alone in the house on a Saturday night, the same house you’ve inhab­it­ed for the last 15 years of your life with your façade of a fam­i­ly, and the façade is torn down.

Our last phone-call did­n’t end well. She want­ed to know why we weren’t as close as oth­er sons with their moth­ers.

How can we be close”, I told her, “You go crazy every time I tell you some­thing impor­tant. You’re sti­fling. Overprotective. Growing up, it made my life a night­mare.” For the first time in my life, I revealed a glimpse of how she had wronged me, not even bring­ing up the mem­o­ries of men­tal abuse I keep buried in my chest for times like this, like an ember ready to be stoked into a fire.

It’s because you’re my only son, and the only thing I have left now.” Saying these words, spark­ing a sud­den real­iza­tion, makes her sob more. She tells me that she wants to start over. It’s nev­er too late. She wants to be stronger so she can sur­vive this divorce, and close to me so she’s isn’t left with­out an emo­tion­al bond.

I can only say that I’ll have to for­give her first. Up to then, she did­n’t even know that there was any­thing to for­give.

Unfortunately, for­give­ness isn’t some­thing that’s in my pow­er. I have no pity for her. Knowing how vul­ner­a­ble, weak, and depressed she is just a reminder of my own child­hood, and only time has a chance at edul­co­rat­ing the bit­ter taste in my mouth.

So she calls me on Saturday, pre­tend­ing to need some help with her iPod, to see if I’ve for­giv­en her yet. If I ignore her, I become as ter­ri­ble a per­son as she was. I only wish I could believe that she did­n’t deserve it.

But I can’t.