This morning I was running behind in getting out the door for a family event at church. I had "planned" to get several things done BEFORE we left, but it just didn't happen. However, I HAD to make sure and make our bed before I left. THAT is something that I'm just ever so slightly insane about. The kids sometimes sit back and laugh at me and the EXTREME care I take in making it up "perfectly". No lumps, bumps, and all the lines have to be straight....VERY picky about this particular "chore". This morning my 4 year old asked me a question that has stuck with me all day. "Mommy, why do you HAVE to make it up when as soon as you get back home you will mess it back up?"
I don't remember what my exact answer for him was since we were rushed, but I know it had something to do with how important I thought it was for me to be able to control ONE thing in the middle of chaos. NO matter what else is going on, whether joyful or full of sorrow, I CHOOSE to make my bed up. It's like taking a moment to say no matter how crazy you are life, I can control this one thing. I also remember telling him something about it being a habit, being responsible, and blah blah blah. It also has to do with the fact that if you are standing in one certain spot on our front porch that at a certain angle you can see right into our bedroom and EVEN IF the rest of the room is a mess, the image of the bed made can hide the reality of what the rest of the room may or may not look like (which fortunately at this point is a non-issue!).
It was the basis of his question that hung with me today. Why do something that you know isn't going to last, something that is going to be messed right back up? Most of us moms probably wonder the same things HUNDREDS of times a week when we pick up the SAME things over and over or clean up a mess that we KNOW we cleaned up five minutes earlier!
I thought about that question on a deeper level. I thought about it from the point of view of forgiveness. Why forgive? You KNOW that if history repeats itself, "that" person is probably going to hurt you again and the pain you felt is something you are going to quite possibly feel again and again. Or perhaps that "situation" isn't going to go away and you are going to be faced with it again and again. In light of Bradlee's question, why bother? Why should I even forgive?
That answer is easy. Forgive because Christ first forgave me and He continues to forgive me on a multi-time daily basis. Forgive because forgiveness brings about healing and freedom. However, the ANSWER is easy, but perhaps the action is not as easy. It is HARD, very hard, at times to truly forgive a person that hurts you deeply.
Kevin and I have been having a deep ongoing conversation lately about forgiveness (even at 1:00 in the morning, which I KNOW he hates!)....what it means, what it doesn't mean, how hard it is at times, how necessary it always is and then the next steps. This isn't a conversation that is finished for us, it's something that we are continuing to discuss from various angles.
One thing I know for certain about forgiveness is that it doesn't erase the memory or the wrong. I've made the mistake many times of thinking that I couldn't forgive someone because my hurt was still so deep. Hurt doesn't necessarily go away with forgiveness, it just brings about the beginning stages of healing. However, the most important thing I've learned so far about forgiveness is perhaps the most powerful...the offender does NOT have to say I'm sorry in order for you to forgive. Their hearts may literally be too hard for them to seek forgiveness, they may not even have a clue about how deeply they have hurt you. You can still choose to forgive and let that start the healing process that you need. Forgiveness comes from within and doesn't depend on outside factors.
So when I make up the bed tomorrow and in the days to come, I think I will think more about Bradlee's question and let it remind me about those areas that I need to seek forgiveness of MYSELF and others and the things I need to forgive others for. If I'm as attentive to forgiving as I am to my bed making obsession, I can only imagine how much more God can use me with an open, free heart. Perhaps forgiving someone will let me have a little bit of calm in this chaotic life, with all of it's lumps and bumps that are needing to be smoothed out.
On a side note:
Today I'm thankful for reconnecting with a long "lost" friend whose friendship meant the world to me in college and in the early years of my marriage. With all of our moves in the years since, we lost contact. I thought of her VERY often, but had not been able to "find" her. Thankfully facebook makes a HUGE world, small!
I'm also thankful for an old (not in age, even though we ARE getting older!) friend that has spent the last year letting God transform her from a broken vessel to something amazingly beautiful. I don't know what the future is going to hold for her, but I know that God has an amazing plan for her and I can't wait to see it unfold. I am INCREDIBLY proud of her for letting Him change her life!
I'm also thankful for incredible children's ministers that did an amazing job today in offering our families something fun to do while many of the area kids were out of school. I looked around many times and just watched their faces filled with joy to see our "kids" happy and spending time together with their families. I'm thankful for the memories we made today and how they TRULY love our kids.
I'm also thankful for hearing that my Dad is doing ok. He isn't healed completely and has a long road ahead, but some of the anxiety I've been feeling in recent days has been relieved. I wasn't a Daddy's girl growing up, but the older I get the more I love him, RESPECT, and APPRECIATE him for the things he did for us. He may not have been affectionate and came across as too harsh many times, but now I understand just how much he WAS LOVING me and PROTECTING me. If only I had known then what I know now....isn't that strange how things change as you grow up and have your own children to raise?
I'm thankful that even though so many things are VERY unsettled in our lives right now and we are "down", we are NOT out. I am thankful for the lessons that God is teaching, the amazing ways He is revealing himself to us, and how He has not left us on this journey alone.