Watching one’s children grow is painful. My remarks have nothing to do with the behavior, decisions, or choices that my daughters exhibit or will make. Rather it is the fact that I see myself too clearly in the mirror. Attitudes long since put away, confidence lost along the road, and the ability to live life out on the edge are on full display. It is easy to say that “I am sure that I was never this way”, but is that really how history played itself out those many years ago? When I am honest the replay comes into focus and it is as if I am seeing myself going through the process of growing up all over again and again.
The blunt fact is that though I may have been quick and at times I was clever, I never knew when to be quiet. In the silence of the morning I can see people coming in and out of my life who carried wisdom around with them as casually as I used to eat pizza for breakfast. They knew that “smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” (Proverbs 19.12) They were able to model this approach to life with ease. As I recall their behavior I did not think it made any sense.
How do I tell them about Peter who was more fun than he had words to say? How can I explain Trevor who face has long since faded from my memory while his laughter still remains echoing in my ears? Are there words for Lorna, a sister I always knew would be around? Each in their own way knew the wisdom of holding their tongue. More importantly I recall how their forgiveness, real forgiveness touched my life in ways that am I still learning from.
Life often seems stuck in a loop. Forgiveness is a hidden key. Friends modeled it but it has taken years for me to understand; I still find it difficult in practice. Today is a good day to break free.