Sunday, December 11, 2011

As We Forgive

I posted two days ago about the concert that the local Shades Of Pink vocal group did at our mall on Friday night in honor of Operation Christmas Child.  But tonight I want to tell you about something else that happened that night.

As I watched the girls sing, my eyes wandered around the periphery of the small crowd and I recognized a couple there who are grandparents of two of the singers.  I taught them 32 years ago in a childbirth education class but more recently knew them from a painful time in our family that occurred almost 18 years ago back in 1994.

My husband was suspended from his teaching job in the midst of false accusations and we went through a lengthy legal battle.  Eventually he was cleared of all charges but it was a tumultuous year of emotional and financial upheaval.

As I looked over at this couple the memories flooded back, because this man and his daughter were two of the primary persons who testified against my husband in that hearing.

I don't believe I've seen him in the past 18 years.

I watched him and his wife as they delighted in their granddaughters' performance.  They glowed with pleasure.  My mind whirled.  I had to speak at the microphone for a few moments that evening and I wondered if they would even remember me.  I felt that I needed to speak directly to them but I had no idea what I would say.

When the performance ended I swallowed the lump in my throat and walked over.  The husband was engaged in another conversation and I never did actually meet his eyes or speak to him.  Did I even really try?

The wife greeted me warmly and asked if I remembered her.  I told her I did and complimented her on her granddaughters' singing.  I reached to shake her hand but it was limp and withered on her lap in the wheelchair where she sat, so I merely stroked it.  I wished her a "Merry Christmas", patted her shoulder, and left.

I struggle with my feelings about this.   I don't even know if they wronged me or my family?  Maybe I wronged them?  Somehow I feel there was unfinished business in my life and that maybe I missed a chance to finish it.  Or maybe a crowded mall wasn't the place.

Was walking to them and extending my hand enough?

God, show me what it means to forgive.

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