Blog 11, Forgiveness Series, No. 2: 060214: In the fall of 2013 my cousin Sharon Rose died. She lived in a little town north of Dallas. She was one of only two first cousins I had left that still maintained contact with me. All the rest are too busy or too distant, either in space or in relationship. She died unexpectedly about age 73. She was in in bad health, but doing OK; but she got pneumonia and diarrhea, and before she or her kids knew what was really happening, she up and died.
I hardly ever go to funerals; except for people I’m close to and people I really respect and love as friends and brothers or sisters in Jesus. She fell into both categories. My other cousin Danny, who was my best family friend from childhood, lives about an hour and a half away from where Sharon Rose lived; so the afternoon before I drove to his house to spend the night; thinking that the next day we could ride over to the funeral together, and visit along the way. I arrived at his house about 8:00 pm. He and his wife had something to do so I hung around the house, watched TV and did a little work while they were gone. They came back fairly late, so we didn’t have much time to talk. The next morning we went by a local café for breakfast before going to meet Danny’s son Scott at the park and ride. When we got there, Danny got out of his car, got in Scott’s pick up and they drove off, with me following. I got to stew about it all the way to the funeral. While we were there we hardly talked to each other because of all the other people that were there, mostly members of Danny’s family. Even more astounding, after the funeral Danny and Scott went out and got in Scott’s pick up and were driving away before I had a chance to say goodbye to them.
I was immediately surprised that he didn’t ride with me so we could talk; since we hardly ever get to see each other anymore; and since he and Scott are almost next-door neighbors and see each other at least weekly, usually more often than that. I couldn’t imagine why he’d do that. Isn’t this silly? Here I am 65 years old, and I’m hurt because someone who I hardly ever see, and only talk to maybe once every two or three months, would want to ride with someone else; even though that someone else was his oldest son, and clearly someone with whom he has a closer and more important relationship with than with me. I guarantee you if I said something to Danny about this, he would be surprised to death to think that I felt bad about it. I’m still trying to figure out why I’m so hurt by it. I’ve talked to my wife about it, and she’s explained to me that the older we all get, the greater is the separation, because the more distant we are removed from those relationships (both in years of our lives, and MORE by the generations of children and grandchildren that fill our lives as we age). It feels like I’ve been holding on to those relationships more than Danny has, maybe because I live farther away than he does from all the rest of our family, and I’m more aware of the separation. Funny thing is, the distance is mostly due to me, not to Danny, since I chose to move to a different part of a large state to live my life. I really am the cause of the gap.
I’m really writing this rather long sob-story to try to figure out why I feel bad about the loss of this formerly strong family relationship. My wife says it’s because it IS a loss, but one that you just have to deal with and go on with your life. It does seem to help to get it out there and think about different aspects of the issue, so I can deal with them. My version is that God has other roads He wants me to walk, and other relationships He wants me to develop. And He is definitely working in my life to take me down those other roads and into those new and different relationships. So I should rejoice in what God is doing, even if the ‘out with the old’ sometimes saddens the ‘in with the new’. But I do want to tell you how happy I am that I’ve HAD a second life, after the 40 years of my ‘first’ life; in spite of the spells of sadness.
Back to the part about forgiveness. What in the world am I doing worrying about such a minor perceived slight? Why am I carrying such a bag of manure around with me, letting it stir me up and separate me from the love of God and my life-long friend and kin. Even if Danny did something to me intentionally (on purpose), which is preposterous; why am I wasting my time and energy and emotional stability brooding over it. Isn’t this exactly the kind of stuff we’re supposed to give up to God, so He can take it away; so we don’t have to ever think about it again???? The devil must be laughing his rear-end off at what a tizz I can get myself in over such an insignificant event. What can I possibly be thinking about? Where was I when Paul was talking about “Love suffers long and is kind? . . . Love will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.” I must have been lost somewhere when God was passing out that kind of love. That’s what I need to remember right now and always, especially when I start to think that someone has done me wrong. Give it up to God! Thank God that He can and will take care of ALL our troubles; if we’ll just let go of them and let HIM take care of them; however and whenever He gets good and ready. Amen? Amen!!!