This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says. C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Harper Collins, 2001; Originally published 1949), 181-183
“What is wrong with you?” I breath these hot words at him. His pink-moon face stares back frowning, those his aqua eyes, glistening with tears held back.
We are in a difficult season it seems, he and I. We course through our days struggling to make peace, fumbling for a way to understand each other.
I thought these years were still ahead of me.
Foolishness, I see that now.
He’s big for five, two times the size of most five year olds and that stature causes me to forget. I imagine him to be eight or nine, and then perhaps I go on further to expect behavior on a level higher than I should. He is only five. And he is every bit awkward and wild and sweet and forceful and gentle and impossible to figure out entirely.
He lives his days sandwiched by the one who came before, and the two who followed and he is looking for a space all his own. I know his struggle, living in between-
We knock heads hard some days and both of us, ruddy from sparking moments, limping off to recover, needing forgiveness and healing for the small wounds we make in this process of learning to love well, to live intentionally-
With him, I feel the weight of a thousand mistakes a day. I know I have this one chance, and like an amateur, I fumble and drop it, I trip and throw frustrated hands to heaven and think, why does this have to be so hard?
Our nature is rebellion. He lives it wild and full, minute by minute. My job, to steer, to teach, to encourage- and to love,
through it all to love-
and show love.
I rest in my bed in the middle of the day, a rare thing anymore, and my body weighs a million pounds, recounting the mornings frustrations. I whisper difficult prayers for forgiveness, for direction, for inspiration, for the ability to do it all better- pleas for second, third and fourth chances…
These days it feels as if I must seek forgiveness around every bend. I stumble through, lacking any semblance of grace, hoping that one of these days, I will get it right-
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:10-12