I spent all of yesterday and most of today curled up in the corner of one of the living room futons battling the worst respiratory “yuckiness” I’ve had in a long time. Maybe ever. Apart from the coughing, sneezing, and the occasional nap, I had much time to think and even did some praying. Almost all of this thinking and praying was specifically for a family member who is hurting. This big sister wishes she could do more than pray but the situation is so far out of my control it’s crazy.
My sister is hurting. Big time. Like “can’t-breathe-not-sure-how-to-keep-functioning” hurting. The circumstance is so huge that it has hurt much of the family – my sister more than any other, but my kids have all gotten stung as well. My other sister, the husbands, my parents . . . all are a little hurt/frustrated/angry. So take big sister anger and add some mama bear growl . . . let’s just say my first impulse when I heard about the situation a week ago was to jump on a plane and rush to the rescue; with violence, if necessary.
As I’ve prayed for my sister and her boys, I’ve also had to pray quite a bit about my own attitude. I don’t want to forgive. The offender hasn’t asked for forgiveness but forgiveness really isn’t about the other person, is it? I mean, there are so many times when the other person doesn’t care if we forgive or not. Forgiving is really about my releasing the right to seek revenge for the wrong. In this case, the wrong was not directly visited on me. But anyone who has ever been a big sister or a mom can tell you, I would probably be MORE forgiving if it was me – rather than my sister or my ducklings – that had been hurt directly.
I am an imperfect Jesus follower (aren’t we all!) and I know there are areas in which I need to grow. This whole week has revealed a very big one for me. I don’t want to forgive this person. Right now this person shows no interest in being forgiven or trying to make amends. But I’m only responsible my response, not the other person’s actions. And I REALLY DON’T WANT TO FORGIVE!!! *sigh* So now I know what I need to work on –
I need to get better at forgiving.
I need to get better at extending grace when others have screwed up big time.
I need to look to the person who “took the direct hit” for my cue on how to respond.
But I’ve also realized that I can drop everything and be there for hurting family and not, even for a moment, regret the time spent. In the time I’ve spent praying for this, I’ve been very honest about my feelings and asked for help growing up. And I’ve tried to be very aware of the usual cliches offered in situations like this and (hopefully!) avoided them.
Regardless of the eventual outcome – this whole thing could drag on for a year at the least – I have just a couple things I hope will be true in the end: (1) I want to be available as a sounding board/person to vent to/shoulder to cry on as often as possible and (2) I want to forgive the “guilty party” even if that person NEVER owns up to the hurtful actions.
Sometimes “adulting” is hard.