“Uh, oh, look here.” Husband Cliff was perusing local news online in our city newspaper. “Here’s a photo of Kitty and Karl Ellison’s house. A big, old live oak fell on their roof yesterday!” I shivered as I glanced at the disturbing sight. Seconds later, I felt a different emotion. Though the nasty news made me feel sorry for the Ellisons, who had just remodeled their home, it also dredged up a grudge I had held against Kitty for over a year now.
Earlier, Kitty was in a position to weigh in on the decision to have Cliff present one of his art & music themes to an organization she was part of. She nixed the idea at a time when the booking would have been most welcome. Ever since, when I saw her socially I felt the sting of the offense. Whatever the excuse may have been: “No money in the budget” . . . “We don’t want to ask attendees for a donation” . . . had sounded lame to me. In short, her decision registered in my heart and mind like a sharp jab.
But a tree had fallen on their house! The horrible event could have made me think, “Serves her right,” she is not a charitable person anyway. But instead, I felt sympathy. A few years earlier, a tree had fallen neatly besideour house, very little damage done. From the looks of things, the Ellisons would have to move out of their house now, live in a hotel for a while, and petition for the insurance company to cover the huge damages. Now it was my turn for an “Uh, oh!”
My “Uh, oh” was followed by a change of heart. Instead of feeling secretly happy at the Ellisons’ bad luck, I wrote a check and sent it to them with a note. It’s wasn’t a large check, but it was an acknowledgement of my empathizing with their situation. As the envelope with the check sailed off through the mail, I felt relief, a huge burden of un-forgiveness lifted.
In return, Kitty sent me a Thank You note, which I've held onto:
In retrospect, I am certain the slight I felt was not intentional. And I should not have taken Kitty’s decision personally.
What others say or do often has nothing at all to do with us.
* Names and certain details have been changed.
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“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” ― C. JoyBell C.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was me.” ~ --- Lewis B. Smedes
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. . . . Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as sons of God: for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are very wicked.” Luke 6:35, The Living Bible
* This blog was first published on https://marianbeaman.com/blog/ on 9/9/20 and has been republished with express permission from the writer and author of Mennonite Daughter https://marianbeaman.com/mennonite-daughter/