(The beginning of this blog is written as if I am inside Harriett's thoughts. She may or may not think this way, but I WAS an 11-year old once, and I distinctly remember feeling this way about my brother, and life in general.)
"My brother is such a jerk! We're in the pool, having a perfectly good time, and he smacks me in the face with a rubber fish! What a JERK! THEN he doesn't even say I'm sorry or anything, he just walks away like it's no big deal! NO BIG DEAL? Hello? I just got hit in the face with a rubber fish here! So then Mom picks us up and she's all "So, how'd it go?" and I tell her about the fish and him hitting me and she says maybe it was an accident. Yeah, Mom. He "Accidentally" hit me in the face with a rubber fish. So she makes him apologize and he's like, "I...AM...SORRY!" But he doesn't say it like he means it, so I don't forgive him and Mom gets all mad talking about forgiving people like we want to be forgiven, but he said it like he thinks it's funny that I got hit in the face with a rubber fish, so I'm not forgiving him, even if I have to sit here and talk to NO ONE the whole way home. I'm not accepting his apology until he says it politely, and like he means it, and so I know he's really sorry."
Hmmm. Sometimes it's not easy being the mother of a jerk who would hit his sister with a rubber fish, and a sister who won't forgive him until he means it. But this is the job I signed on for when I chose to breed.
In retrospect, I stick to the story of forgiving people the way we want to be forgiven, but there is something more here that was given to me to learn today. Isaac told his side of the story over and over to Harriett, and she never heard the apology in it, but it was there. (She doesn't speak teen boy yet.) Every time he emphasized the "I didn't mean to hit you" part of the story. He was trying to splash her, and got too close. She didn't hear the "I love you and was just playing with you and got too close with the rubber fish" part of the story because she was too hurt and too mad. I do that all the time. I don't hear the thought behind the words, I only hear the tone they are said in.
Then she did the meanest sibling trick EVER! She held her forgiveness HOSTAGE! He wanted to be forgiven because he's really not a jerk, he just has bad depth perception with his glasses off. But, Oh NO! She will NOT forgive him, because he's a jerk that hit her with a rubber fish. She's holding onto the pain and humiliation of that experience. She's holding it more dear to her than the relationship with her brother. She can take it out and beat him with it when she needs to because she just won't let it go. I discovered I'm doing the same thing. This exact same thing I'm trying to teach my daughter, God is trying to teach me!
God didn't hit me with a rubber fish. He allowed me to have a cardiac arrest. He tells me he loves me all the time. He tells me, lovingly, why I'm still here. He shows me good things, and tries to show his care for me everywhere I turn, but I just keep holding on to this stupid "rubber fish smack in the face" situation. God doesn't require my forgiveness, but I need to forgive him, or I'm no different than my angry children. I forgive you, Father. I know you had your reasons, and I don't fully understand them, but I'm ready to let go of this anger and hurt inside, and forgive. Whew.
Are you holding on to some "smack with a rubber fish" situation? Forgive already! Let go of the anger, you'll be amazed at how much energy it frees up. Don't let your heart be all caved in like a wrinkly dried up apple that's sat in the sun too long! Let the love in! Tell your sister (friend, child, husband, maker, etc) that you are sorry, and mean it. Then love them.
And try not to smack people with a rubber fish.