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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that receives it. (Edith Wharton)

As I dust the front windowsill I realize my birthday cards have been on display for almost two months. Some of the messages are serious and genuine, some silly. I celebrate all of them. The cards are an opportunity for gratitude.

However, there is a fine line between gratitude and clutter. If I saved every thoughtful token I have ever received from friends, hoarding would replace genuine appreciation. The sun can’t shine through paper, even beautifully illustrated paper. I will save some cards for future illustration-inspiration. One friend copied a quote on slick paper. It will make a great bookmark.

No one thing lasts forever. Resentments can clutter, too. Sometimes people act in ways that reflect deep hurt—then they fling their pain around as weapons against those who have injured them. They take no responsibility for their choices. As long as the ball of discontent rolls, there is no time to recognize the loss of both logic and common sense. And the discontent grows deeper.

Hate caused Problems MoveOn.org

I think about that as I linger over the cards and shut out unhelpful thoughts concerning a recent situation that doesn’t directly involve me. It affects someone I care about. Nevertheless, it threatens my serenity. I have no control over another person’s choices. Light without shadow doesn’t exist in the real world. And resentments and anger can block out sun for years, sometimes a lifetime. I can’t help anyone if I play that game. Lashing out with quick judgment is tempting, but leads only to more lashing out.

I sigh and then pray for the highest good for the folk who would wish harm. Within minutes I notice that my breathing feels freer. The sky appears brighter, even though gray fills the clouds with promised rain.

However, the mirror reflecting the candle can shine on and on and on… Thanks to all my friends. For all you give and for all you are.

cards

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The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. (Madeleine L’Engle, 1918-2007) 

I made a big mistake when I told my two older grandchildren about the time my brothers climbed into the dollhouse my grandfather made for me. Since the house had been created for thumb-sized dolls, not little boys, the walls collapsed onto them.

Kate and Rebecca were horrified. Two giants had invaded precious pretend space and demolished it. Back then I probably saw the torn walls as slaughtered puppies. Now, I understand the viewpoint of my younger brothers, an exploration into uncharted territory. I really don’t think they planned destruction; it happened as a side-product of their exploration. Somehow, I expected my little girls to see with my adult point of view. They didn’t.

When Kate knew my youngest brother was coming to the house, she asked, “Is he one of the brothers who broke your doll house?”

“Uh, no, he was too little.”

I have a few weeks before my other brothers face my girls’ wrath—for a misdemeanor committed before computers, space travel, cell phones, and flat-screen television sets existed. Any pictures from that era would have been in black-and-white. They couldn’t have been instantly posted on Facebook.

Then again, my granddaughters may forget all about the long-ago dollhouse. Actually it’s likely. The holidays are filled with far more interesting opportunities. If the subject comes up I could ask if they ever made a mistake and then felt sorry about it later. The word, oops, appears early in a child’s vocabulary. I could mention again the story about the time my brothers and I wanted to play Indians in the basement when I was about four-or-five-years old. We needed a campfire. So I gathered some sticks from the front yard, placed them on the cement floor, and then lit them from the pilot on the hot-water heater. Fortunately, my mother had a good sense of smell.

“Did you get a spanking?” Kate asked.

“I don’t remember that part. But you can be pretty sure I did.” I certainly earned one.

The consequences of a fire in the basement didn’t occur to me at preschool age. I had planned to put it out. There was a faucet a few feet away, right next to the wringer washer. As an adult the thought of flames in the house strikes me with intense fear. I’ve apologized to my parents many times over the years.

Yet, somewhere deep inside me is that little adventurer who wondered what-would-happen-if? She learned to respect the parameters of reality, but appreciates the spunk of the kid with just a touch of mischief inside.

Yes, I loved that dollhouse my grandfather crafted for me. He was an incredible, gentle man. I loved my brothers even more. And, I still do.

save the kid in you

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