Sunday, October 14, 2012


Forgiveness. I like to think that I am quick to seek forgiveness when I have wronged someone and just as swift to offer it when someone requests it of me.  I like to think that.  But I'm not so sure that it's always true.

I know that true forgiveness brings healing and restoration.  But I also know it doesn't come without a price.   As humans, we aren't able to just forget something that hurt or harmed us.  God is the only one who can truly forgive and forget.  The rest of us simply have to choose to move forward from that place of pain or injustice even though we still remember what happened.

That's why forgiving someone isn't for the faint of heart.  It is difficult and requires a generosity of heart and mercy that doesn't come naturally to most of us.  In his devotional, "A Year with God," R. P. Nettlehorst stated it so clearly that it was actually painful to me when I read it.  He said, "Forgiveness is the granting of mercy to one who deserves anger.  Forgivness is a decision against justice.  Forgiveness gives a benefit to one who does not deserve it." Those words go against everything that we believe is fair and just.  Yet they are at the very heart of true forgiveness.

In this life, we will all do things that cause others pain. And as much as we might like to, we can't go back and undo those things.  Many years ago, my pastor summed up forgiveness in a way that I  have never forgotten.  He said, "Forgivness means being willing to live with the consequences of someone else's sin."  We don't live in a vacuum.  Our actions impact people and relationships.  May we all offer and receive true, mercy-filled forgiveness that brings restoration

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Struck Gold!

I struck gold last Saturday!  No, it wasn't in the form of gold nuggets or jewelry.  Actually, it was in the form of a wonderful afternoon spent in the company of my long-time friend, Missy.  I'm sure you know the children's song that goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." (Admit,'re singing it in your head right now!)  Well, every word of that song rang true as Missy, my sister, Martha, and I talked, laughed and reminisced our way through a delightful afternoon.

Missy, Martha and I went to college together.  And as close as we can figure, it's been nearly 15 years since we have seen each other.  But a couple of years ago, Missy went on a search to find me.  She tried looking me up on Facebook which didn't work, since I'm not on Facebook.  But with a little additional sleuthing on her part, she found my daughter, Elizabeth's Facebook page where there was a link to her blog.  So Missy followed the link to Elizabeth's blog and discovered a link to my blog...and there you have!  She found me!  And finally, last Saturday we reconnected over lunch.

Since our marathon catching up session, I've done a lot of thinking about how life leaves its mark on us.  The unique circumstances, experiences, people, trials and triumphs that we each live through constantly redefine and sculpt us into the people we are today.  This doesn't mean that the current version of "us" is any more real or valid than who we were years ago.  It's simply the latest "release" that includes the most recent updates from our life experiences.

But part of what made Saturday's visit with Missy so wonderful was the opportunity to reconnect with the people that we all were so long ago. Afterall, those were the people that everythng else has been built upon. Aside from my family, no one who knows me today knows that person that Missy knows.

So, who were we back then?  We were best buds.  We laughed a whole lot.  We spent way too much time at the Unversity of Washington's library talking instead of studying.  We piled groups of friends into Missy's Volvo, Garbo, to go out to eat...way too often.  We turned up the radio and belted out our own version of the 1972 song, "Stuck in the Middle with You," whenever we went anywhere.  Missy was always known as "the funny one" and I was known as "the sensitive one" and we both balked at those titles, knowing that we could easily reverse the labels. Missy always pushed me to try new things, knowing that on my own, I wouldn't do them   Later, we were traveling buddies and coworkers.  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and another "daughter" to my parents.

Of course, we have all changed since those experiences of so long ago.  As a matter of fact, Missy isn't even Missy anymore.  For many years now, she has gone by her given name of Melissa. But in a gracious act of friendship, she's allowed me to continue to call her Missy...since that's who she always will be to me.

So, last Saturday I struck gold!  It was a blessed reminder of just how rich our friendships make us.  Old or new, friends are always treasures.

That's me on the left, Missy on the right and my sister, Martha, "stuck in the middle" with us! (And, uh, no...we didn't color coordinate our outfits. We just know what makes for a great photo op!)