I spent several hours yesterday visiting with my dad and it was delightful. The older we both get, the more relaxed we are and the more we enjoy our visits. The ambiance around us hasn’t always been perfect but we’re moving beyond that. There are miles of dried up gorges filled with past wounds still laying on the surface of our relationship but that’s just it; they’re scars and they serve no real purpose now other than to remind us of how far along we’ve come since those wounds were inflicted. I don’t really know when the wounds became scars except that one day I decided that I no longer wanted to carry around the baggage of bitterness. I, myself, wanted to live free of my past offenses so in order to do that I had to let some offenders off my hook. I decided to forgive and move on, to love like Jesus.
My dad was a different person back when he and my mother were raising me. Having just stepped over the edge of a milestone birthday myself, I now see my childhood through the lenses of wisdom and therein lies the pathway to the forgiveness that I am able to extend to others. While I am forgiving others, I am seeking forgiveness, too. As I open my hand to give it to others, I am seeking it and allowing others to give it to me.
I take account of my own parenting skills during the last twenty years and I sure hope my daughter will extend some grace and mercy to me, too, because much of my parenting was done when I was young and it was performed by the seat of my pants. Suffice to say, I made some errors. Ok, I made a lot of errors but I always parented out of love and I believe that love covers a multitude of sins and a bucket load of mistakes. It’s really the defining action of grace…to forgive others and to love others and remember to forgive yourself and love yourself back.
Life is but a second and it is way too short to live in captivity to the chains of bitterness, anger, alienation, and conflict. Love recklessly. Live purposefully. Make that second count!