If you regularly read this blog, you may notice there aren’t many posts about forgiving, yet, it’s called The ForGiving House. Well, it’s time for some “carpentry work” on the house. You could say this is like the show Fixer Upper, but that show is about real houses. This is about real life. And real life sometimes needs fixing upping. So, let’s get to work! Let’s talk about something the Carpenter (Who does all the really Good construction) just is: Forgiving.
I think sometimes it can be hard to talk about forgiving for many different reasons. First, no one likes being told what to do, especially if it might be difficult to face in the first place. And, when someone tells you that you need to forgive, you may not really want to for many different reasons. Oftentimes, people mean well and want to help you out. But none of us knows what is really going on inside another person.
The best way I can think of sharing the positive power of forgiving is by sharing stories. Stories come in all shapes, lengths, and sizes. Let’s just start here…at the Baggage Un-claim.
Our kids were little at the time, around 3 and 6 years old. My husband found out he had a conference for work where he was asked to speak. It was being held on the grounds of Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. The kids were at great ages for going to Disney World. So, we decided that the boys and I would tag along for the trip.
When we traveled, I wanted to do all the arrangements. You could pretty much call me a control freak (I put the troll in control). And, back then, our oldest son was also in the midst of intensive autism therapies, so I was concerned about missing therapy, how he would do traveling, and accommodating all of his needs.
Since my husband had to do all the arrangements for work, he took care of everything this time. He booked the flights, arranged the transportation, booked the hotel stay, and he even took care of getting tickets for the theme parks for me and the boys on the days he was working. I was a bit out of the loop and out of my element, but I did do the packing…and lots of it. We had a lot of baggage.
That morning, we got on the plane, and landed in Orlando. Everything was going smoothly. We went down to the baggage claim and found all the bags. Yes! We were on our way…
And then, I looked around and realized something quite different from our situation. All the families that were heading to a Disney Resort weren’t taking their bags. Why were we schlepping everything along???
We talked to a few attendants at the airport and realized that there was one small detail that got overlooked. We could have had our luggage tagged for the resort to take our bags for us, rather than taking them all around with us across the airport and through the airport pick-up and shuttle areas. But, it was too late to do so now. You had to pre-book that accommodation with the resort.
I can’t explain exactly why, but that one, tiny, small detail suddenly grew to a very large thorn in my side. Maybe it was because we woke up very early to get to the airport. Maybe it was really hot and humid in Orlando that day. You and I could sit down and list a ton of maybe-s together. But whatever the reasons, that one small thing became HUGE in an instant for me. And it felt as if it was growing. And I wasn’t happy about it.
I got mad…at my husband. Really, really mad. And I let him know it. Oh, not in a loud, let’s let everyone at the baggage claim know about it kind of way. Oh, no. It was the SBGT…Silent But Glaring Treatment. I was good at that because as a kid, I was the youngest in the family. I “graduated” with honors from Angry Pout-it-out University (APU). It worked for me.
Until I got that nudge…the kindest, most gentlest type of nudge.
“You know that you need to forgive him,” God nudged into my thoughts. I knew this was Him, because I sure was not thinking that at the time!
“What?! He screwed it up.” I thought answered back.
And then God added one more soft nudge, “Forgiveness isn’t for him,… it’s for you.”
Immediately I knew I had a choice. I could carry this thing all the way through the week. Subtle jabs here and there. When getting a glass of water for my husband, it would be… “Oh, let me carry that for you…through the airport!” We graduates of APU were well trained and I knew I would have many jabs in my arsenal baggage to choose from.
But then God gave me a glimpse, just a small one, of how rummaging through the baggage of artillery that I would carry that week would look. I would grab just the right jab at the right time. And it would take time…time away from a vacation that I could really enjoy. I could ruin this whole vacation.
If I forgave him, it would be un-claiming the baggage. Leaving the artillery behind and moving on. And I got a glimpse of having fun and enjoying my husband, kids, and Disney.
I got the picture.
I went up to my husband who was standing amidst all of our luggage in the baggage claim and said, “I’m sorry I got angry about the baggage. Do you forgive me?” He looked into my eyes, melted and apologized for not taking care of that detail. We hugged… and I left the baggage behind.
You could say that I checked it into the Un-Claimed baggage area. I didn’t want it. Because I knew there was something better. A really fun vacation.
I think it is funny how He teaches us at the best times in the best places. Of all places, that lesson about forgiving happened in an airport baggage claim. God has a sense of humor.
Yep, leave that baggage behind. Don’t keep carrying it with you. Forgiveness is not for the other person. It is for you. It sure does lighten your load.
Did we have a great Disney vacation? Yes…thank God. Love the Magic Kingdom, and, most especially, His Kingdom.