Second in a series of “No Quick, Easy Answers” for my Memoir. Â (read about “Remembering” HERE) Â While the story will be more complete for my family, I share here what I learned about drooping tulips and forgiveness.
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Recently an acquaintance and I were talking about forgiveness. She had received unsettling news. Changes for her she didnâ€™t want and didnâ€™t see coming. There are reasons, she says. She understands (even I understand how it probably happened) and she is forgiving. I believe her. And then I tell her a story:
Itâ€™s a cold dreary day in April and even the tulips at home are drooping this morning. I feel like the tulips.â€
I wrote the this to a friend and â€œbrotherâ€ a couple weeks after a particularly difficult life experience that felt like betrayal. In a dysfunctional way it was. There was â€œblameâ€ on both sides. And it never came to a nice tidy resolution.
â€œI guess Iâ€™d better forgive,â€ I continued. (Remember this was two weeks after a life-changing decision thrust upon us – one we had no part in making and no warning of its coming.â€)
My wise friend responded, â€œDonâ€™t rush to quick forgiveness without first dealing with the pain and anger. And when you think you have forgiven and there is more anger, it doesnâ€™t mean you havenâ€™t forgiven. It means you have more to forgive.â€
It was what I needed to hear. I needed to own the hurt and anger. If I hadnâ€™t, it would have gone down deep inside me and I suspect I would still have it down there somewhere, affecting me and others in ways I could not understand.
And when I did forgive and then had to forgive some more, I didnâ€™t spend time in needless shame, wondering if my forgiveness was real the first time.
I thank God for that dear friend. I have never forgotten his advice.
And I have passed it on to others.
PS: Â My friend told me later it was helpful for you to hear this story. Â Maybe it will mean something to you too.