In my Tuesday morning ladies group at church we are reading a book on prayer. This weeks chapter of the book dealt with forgiveness being a part of an effective prayer life. Our leader challenged us to consider someone who we haven't forgiven and to pray that we be forgiven for not forgiving them, that we would forgive them, and to be given love for them. Now, I am generally a very forgiving person. So, I sat there rather smugly and thought to myself that I have no one who I need to forgive. Then the quiet stillness of this morning came.
Last weekend I was at an event where I was re-acquainted with someone who I had met before. I couldn't place how I knew this person at first, but she remembered me. As the day progressed I remembered her quite well. This person is a person whose language almost drips with judgement and condescension. If these two things were an art form she would be Picasso. It is aparant that she feels her parenting choices and her children are perfect and that everyone else comes up quite short. Typically in my dealings with her she had painted her canvas of judgement using other people's children. Saturday, I was her brush of choice. As I let Klayton (my 6 month old) have the eensiest little tastes of cake filling she looked at me and said, "I guess by the time you have your 7th one anything goes." Then she went on about how her children hadn't even had real birthday cake, but banana bread instead on their first birthdays...yadda, yadda, yadda. Paint splattered everywhere. I sat there, biting my tongue, trying to ignore as much of her as I could.
Then here comes this morning. As I was laying in bed, in that space between fully awake and not quite asleep, I began thinking. I began thinking of all the lovely comments I could have said to put her in her place. To shut her down. Let her know that she was not all that. It was then I realized. She had grieved me and I was not filled with love for her, nor was I in a state of forgiveness about that. I can't currently say that I am at the point right now either. I am caught at the crossroads of feeling self righteous in my annoyance with her and letting it go.
I am trying to remember that I have stuck my foot in my mouth many times. I too have swirled judgement broadly upon a canvas. A time in particular is when I went up to a good friend of mine and told her " I just want you to know it's her personality and not your parenting.". I still cringe at the memory of that. I am sure she felt judged in that moment. I hope she knows that I am sorry for it. I was at a place where I was feeling insecure in my parenting. I had heard all these stories from our mutual friend about how amazing her daughter was and how she cleaned up everything before she got something else out. I felt like my children and I were somehow threatened by that, that I was somehow less a parent than she, because my kids could create a mess faster than the Tazmanian devil on speed. It was from that place that I said those words.
Maybe just maybe this woman doesn't think her parenting is all that and a side of organically grown baked veggie chips. Maybe she is just as insecure as I am. Who knows. I should give her the benefit of the doubt though and turn the corner off of Self Righteous Ave and go down Letting It Go Lane.
*Kelli, I hope you know I think you are a great Mom! If I could ever erase that moment in time I would. I hope that those words spoken out of my insecurity didn't grieve your heart as much as they have grieved mine these last 7 years!*
**DISCLAIMER: there is absolutely nothing wrong with organically grown baked veggie chips or having banana bread as birthday cake. **