I had the chance of a lifetime yesterday. A man who hurt me badly was at a party I attended. I expected him to be there, but didn't know how I would react. A few months ago, I might have avoided him, remained aloof, come up with some snide, passive-aggressive snark to shoot his way. I have laid awake hating him, hating myself for my ignoble feelings. When we pulled up to the house, I saw him walking in. I wanted to turn and go home. Didn't want to embarrass our host. Didn't want to face the ugly feelings I harbored.
When we came into the yard, he and I made eye contact almost immediately. We weren't sure what to do. I spoke to some folks who were nearby, some who approached to comment on my weight loss, my hair loss, my blog, my health. You could tell they knew how much I love being the center of attention, and I was grateful to them for indulging me.
Next thing I knew, he was there in front of me. "Hiya Bob," his hand extended. I felt as if I stood on the edge of a cliff. It was the chance of a lifetime.
I threw my arms open and he stepped into them. Hugging is one of the things I do best. People like hugging me because I'm big and squishy, like a mammy. We embraced for a long time. "It is so good to see you," I told him, meaning it with all my heart.
"Good to see you, too," he answered. "Can I get you something to drink?" He brought me a Sprite and we chatted for a while under an umbrella. Then he was off and I held court for a while, doing my best not to upstage the guest of honor.
There are very few things in this world that feel as good as forgiveness. either received or offered. It was kind of him to accept what I gave him. I imagine God feels this way when we accept his forgiveness. When I try to picture what it will be like to meet my Father in Heaven, I think of lots of different scenes. Will I fall on my face, waiting for permission to rise? Will I run to him in gratitude? Will I wait for introductions? Will I tremble in fear?
Or just open my arms in thanksgiving when I hear the words, "It is so good to see you." Is that what forgiveness will be? A whole-hearted acceptance that needs no comment, just a long hug like a mammy's, soft and big and uninhibited by the presence of others? Will it feel as good to God as it feels to me? I could live with that.
Now that will be a party. Of course, I'm hoping to have some teeth by then. The smell of fried chicken was exquisite torture last night.
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