Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Gift Too Lightly Received

What has the experience of being forgiven been like for you?

Well, I have only myself to blame for asking Julie this question. Now, she has posed it as the next topic in her Hump Day Hmmm Round Table discussions. And, per my usual, I'm a day (or more) late in getting my post up. I could apologize but I know I get tired of hearing people apologize for the same thing over and over again. Sometimes changed behavior is the best apology.

But I digress...

Having boldly asked The Ravin' Picture Maven, in response to her post on her personal experiences with forgiving others, how she receives the forgiveness of others, I realize that this is hard. Very hard. It requires something of a personal life inventory and I realize that I've not been very appreciative of the forgiveness I've received in my life. If you know me well, you might say that I've not done all that much which requires the forgiveness of others and yes, I've never murdered anyone, had an affair or cheated someone out of their inheritance. But I have said unkind things, unthinking things, been cold-hearted, all-knowing, along with other garden-variety transgressions, especially with family. All these "little" things have added up, I think. Something like a landfill. Over the years, the piles get higher and stinkier.

Sometimes I have apologized, many times I have not. Regardless of whether or not I asked for forgiveness, I received it. You do not reach the 19 year marker in marriage without having been the recipient of forgiveness. You do not have a long term friendship without needing it. You are not a daughter without having received it. You are not a parent without being given total and instantaneous forgiveness on occasion. Yes, I blithely go through Life, ranting about the Universe and Everything else I can think of without being grateful for the gift of being forgiven.

So, there it is, my answer to how I experience the forgiveness of others: negligently and without proper thought and gratitude. Ouch! Sometimes this self-reflective process is less than pleasant.

I am glad, though, that through this process, I was able to stop and think about this. I have an opportunity to publish this post and then go on about my business, changing nothing. Or, I can take this observation to heart, make a point of asking for forgiveness more often and appreciating it when it is given to me. I hope I go with that last one.

(I chose not to address the big Forgive that I received when I became a Christian. I've been feeling a little preachy lately, both in some of my posts and my comments and if you come around here very often, you know what I believe and that it is a foundational thing for me from which all my thoughts about Life, the Universe and Everything are based.)


Julie Pippert said...

Yes, it has struck me the "taking it for granted" and "rejecting" and so forth...what an injury that is to me and the person offering forgiveness. My husband might not be good at sorry, but he's very good at forgiving. I am really working to change this, to get better at actual forgiveness.

Great question. Thank you.

Great post, and thanks for that, too. :)

thailandchani said...

Interesting post... and I'm sure we all take it for granted sometimes. I have many thoughts on this particular topic but won't clog up your comments forum with all of them.

We're all human. We all make mistakes. We all occasionally need forgiveness and all occasionally issue it.

It's part of the natural order of things ~



Anonymous said...

Hi Mary-LUE,
This is my first visit here.

Although it may seem painful to conclude that you've been negligent and ungrateful to the people who have forgiven you, perhaps the flip side is how fortunate you have been to have relationships where this is not a Big Deal.

Mary-LUE said...

Julie, I think "actual forgiveness" is so tough. It is a combination of decision and timing. Sometimes as much as you want to, the timing isn't right and you can't quite get there. Sometimes the only way to get there, I think, is by a force of will, a decision to do it. It is, at least for me, a lifelong journey for sure.

Chani, thanks for stopping by. I'm always interested to hear what you have to say and I still need to get to your post for this week.

SB, I'm so glad you came by for the first time! I do think I am fortunate in the family and friends I have around me. I do know people who are often presented with a list of wrongs and how they need to make amends for them, etc. I have very little patience for that kind of behavior. I do want to let those in my life know that I appreciate the ease with which forgiveness comes by way. It is truly a blessing!

Lawyer Mama said...

You know from reading my post that I also take forgiveness for granted. We tend to do that with the people we care about. This post is a nice reminder of how important it actually is though.

P.S. Love the Hitchiker's Guide reference!

Alpha DogMa said...

My mother is 60 and has never said Sorry. She is proud of this conceit. She has never granted forgiveness nor requested it.
Needless to say, I know first hand the power of granting and receiving. The healing power of both is vital to my sense of self.

Gwen said...

I love how you just crystallized something for me: one of the reasons I was able to move past my youthful errors, I think, is precisely because I was freely granted and finally accepted forgiveness for them. I don't know that I take forgiveness for granted so much as I fail often to see how necessary it is for me to be Whole.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I don't do well with the whole asking for forgiveness thing. I am such a prideful person...I honestly believe I would cut off my nose to spite my face. I am currently seeking professional help with this problem! :)

That last part is a lie....and I am NOT sorry about it! hee-hee

Mel said...

It's that 'freely given, silently received' that humbled me this morning.
A great point well received.

Apparently I needed humbled?

Thank you.