One More Dance

The old man was sitting on his porch swing watching the clouds drift by and thinking of how time was passing.  A memory came to his mind as a smile crossed his face. The smile disappeared though as he let out a sigh.  Was it too late?  Had he been too stubborn for too long?  How could he have done what he did!

The young woman was sitting on the park bench watching the children play. “Swing me higher Daddy!’ was a little girl’s cry. The young woman smiled and the long ago memories rolled down her cheeks. Her heart had ached for so long.  Her wounds had cut deep, but she knew it wasn’t all his fault.  Years had passed, how long would she hold onto the grudge? What was it costing her? Couldn’t she perhaps be the one to take the first step.

“One, Two, Three…follow my lead”  They danced as she looked into her Daddy’s eyes and smiled with glee. “Dance with me Daddy, oh please!”

The man wiped a tear as he heard his little girl’s voice in his memory.  How they had danced so many nights long ago, how his heart had been filled with delight. It had been one of their favorite things to do.

He walked into his house and found the old record that they had always played. It was their record she had said, their special songs.  She had always wanted the same ones played. Time had passed and a lot of his records he had no more, but this one, this one he couldn’t let go.

The needle scratched as he blew off the dust and played the record once more. He sat in his recliner and closed his eyes letting his mind take him back to a special time many years ago.

He saw her sparkly royal blue dress and the matching bow in her hair. She had beamed with pleasure as she twirled around in front of her Daddy dear.  Off to the dance they had went and what a night it had been. “”One…Two..Three. Follow my lead…”

The music played and he couldn’t keep the smile off  of his face. Oh it felt so good to dream. He shut out everything else and just heard the music in his head as he took a trip down memory lane.  He was so focused on his dream that he never heard the opening of the old screen door.  He sat in his chair tapping his feet on the floor. “One…Two…Three”

“Dance with me Daddy! Please, Oh Please!”

Oh his little girl’s voice sounded so very clear. If only it wasn’t just a dream. He kept his eyes closed trying to hang on to the precious dream as it was fading away.

“Dance with me Daddy! Please, just one more time!”

This was so strange, the dream of them dancing together had faded but yet her voice kept sounding more clear.  What was going on?

He slowly opened his eyes and gasped at who he saw standing in front of him.  It was her! He felt like his  heart  was going to burst right out of his chest. He rose up from his chair and moved to embrace her as he said, “I can’t believe it, its really you! A dream come true! You came, you are really here! I’m so sorr…”

Her hand covered his mouth. “Dance with me Daddy!”

With a sob in his throat he softly spoke, “One…Two…Three. follow my lead.”

 

 

What is Forgiveness?

I thought I knew what forgiveness was.  There have been times in my life that I have been hurt, who hasn’t?  Times where I have had to let go of the hurtful words or actions that had been done.  I had to realize that having peace in my heart was more important than holding onto my pain.

In my journey through life I have found that not too hard to do.  I am not saying it has been easy.   There have definitely been harder times than others,  but overall I didn’t feel like I had much of a problem with it.

I have always been one that strives to look at the bright side of life, that wants to live in the joy of the moment.  I can’t do that if burdened with holding a grudge against someone.  It’s not worth the loss of inner joy.

A little over 2 years ago that all changed.  I was deeply hurt.  My family and I had been betrayed and the pain in my heart was overwhelming.  The depths of it almost drowned me.

Suddenly I was lost in the sea of unforgiveness.  I felt more anger than I have ever felt before.  I felt sickened by the cold feeling that I had welling up inside my heart.  The intensity of it was a new feeling to me and I didn’t like it at all.  It was then that I wondered if I would ever be able to truly forgive the person for what they had done.

I knew the importance of forgiving.  I had been taught it, I had encouraged others to do it.  I knew that I didn’t want to become a bitter person.  Having the knowledge of what I should do though is different from actually taking the steps to do it.  It is hard!  It was something I thought I had a grip on for one moment, but in the next moment would feel like I didn’t.

There is a saying that gets flung around all the time.  “Forgive and Forget!”  Forget??  I forget times of appointments and forget where I put my car keys, etc.  Forgetting something major that happened to my family and I?  Forgetting the pain that was caused to those I love the most?  How could I?  The answer was simple.  I couldn’t.

I don’t believe you can forget and I don’t think you have to.  There is more to that saying I believe.  I believe that its not in forgetting what happened but more in what happens to us when we remember.  I feel over time that as we learn to let go and forgive, that when the painful memory comes back , its not quite as sharp as it was the very first time.  I believe that its the realization that  even though the memory may stay with us,  we no longer need to let it rule us.

It doesn’t mean that there won’t be times where the pain of the memory might hit harder than other times.  Its a process.  This isn’t something that happens overnight and all is well the next morning.  It is about finding the strength to be able to keep making the choice to let go.

It is not about denying the pain but in accepting the peace.

Pain hit me unexpectedly this morning.  A memory flashed in my mind and the tears quickly came.  I thought what is happening?  What is this feeling?  For the memory that had flashed into my mind wasn’t of the betrayal.  No, it was a memory of happier times.  A memory of a friendship that had been shared for over 20 years.

The tears came because I missed the friendship of the very individual that had caused so much pain.  I truly missed it.  I missed the person that I thought I had known.  I missed the person that I believed had cared about my family and I.  I missed the good times we had shared.   It was while I was thinking about those things that I realized something.   I realized that I cared.

There was a warmth that had crept into my heart unexpectedly.  A warmth where coldness had been before.  A warmth that was poking up through the shards of a broken heart.  The warmth of a forgiving heart.  That realization brought more tears.

I still don’t want to see him. I don’t believe you need to see someone in order to forgive them.  I don’t believe that you need to hear a “I’m sorry!” in order to forgive.  In this case I still haven’t heard those words and I don’t know if I ever will.  Forgiveness is not about the other person.   Its not about whether they deserve it or not.  How many times have I been forgiven when I didn’t deserve it?

Forgiveness isn’t about measuring the level of offense that was done. Forgiveness is about extending grace.  Forgiveness is for us.  Forgiveness is in the release of the coldness of bitterness and letting warmth fill our heart.  It is in the releasing of the tears that roll down our cheeks.

I am not saying that I am fully there, for I am not. I am not saying that I don’t still have questions, for I do.  I also still have moments of anger; but  in cases like this morning I have felt the warmth of caring.  The warmth that causes more tears to flow,  but flowing tears is something that I will take over a cold heart any day!

Forgiveness is a Warm Heart.

 

 

Moving Forward

I had several positive responses to my post on Friday. Friday’s Super Short Stories. My “stories” are usually inspired by something light or serious that has happened to me. The light ones may very often be due to a joke that has been played, or verbal wit that is exchanged daily.

This past Friday, there were more serious ones which held  a deeper meaning. They were about letting go of bitterness, forgiving others and stepping out into the sunshine.

As I have shared in some posts, these past 2 years have been 2 years that I never want to  repeat. We were involved in a court case, a betrayal of trust, betrayal of a close family friend,  and the wounds cut deep. We were fighting because we love our children, and we will always stand up for them, no matter the cost!

In April you may remember me mentioning the trial and how we escaped to the beach for the week-end afterwards.  We all needed it after 2 very emotional, tension filled days.

This past Friday the sentence was handed down. We walked out of the courthouse for the last time. Legally our 2 year journey was finished, the chapter brought to a close. The doors shut behind us as we walked out into sunshine. It struck me how it was overcast and sprinkling when we walked into the courtroom that day, but when we walked out, the sun was doing its best to shine from behind the clouds!

I smiled as I thought how the sun symbolized a new beginning.  Letting go of the dark clouds of bitterness and embracing the sunshine of starting a new chapter. Embracing the sunshine of the many joys out there  waiting to be found. We have to let go of the  “If only’s”, the “What If’s”,  and the unending “Why’s.” We have to let go, in order to free our hands to hold the fruits of forgiveness.  Letting go so that we can feel the radiating warmth of love and joy in our hearts.

It’s a process of letting go. It can’t be done in a day! We have been slowly letting go during the past 2 years, and we will continue to. Letting go of heartache, doesn’t mean that we will forget, the scars will remain. The scars remain, but we don’t need to make them the main thing! We don’t need to let them control our thoughts and actions. We can take the things we have learned from this and use them as stepping stones to build a bright future.

When we stumble, as we will,  and when our vision is blurred by the “If Only’s”, “What Ifs”, and “Whys”, that is when we will need our vision brought back into focus again.  We will need ones  who can gently get us back on track! Get us back on track to living a life that holds so many undiscovered adventures! A life that has “nuggets of gold”  waiting to be found!

A Serving of Humble Pie

My Dad’s favorite pie is Mincemeat pie. I honestly don’t know how he can eat it, but I would take Mincemeat pie over Humble pie any day!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were perfect and never made mistakes. If things just always went according to plan, working out exactly as you intended it to. Unfortunately if that was so, we wouldn’t be human!

Recently I have had to partake of some Humble Pie and it hasn’t been my first time and probably won’t be my last. Though I don’t intend my next serving to be for the same reason. Lesson has been learned!

As bad as eating Humble pie can feel, it does serve a purpose. It helps to show us things that we can make a note of and learn from. As someone has said to me, learning from our mistakes is part of life, it keeps us growing. May not be the most fun way to grow, but it does help us, if we are open to seeing the lesson.

The other lesson from eating Humble pie is the feeling of grace we get from our dear family and friends. The feeling of grace when they extend their forgiveness. It warms the heart.

Hopefully we can remember that feeling of grace and extend our forgiveness to others when we are on the other side.

Life is a journey. A journey of mountain tops and valley’s;  twists and curves. A journey of times where  we can teach lessons to others,  and times of where we are the student and learning lessons. So thankful for my dear family and friends that continue to  walk this journey of life with me, through all the ups and downs that life brings.