I have been working very hard at forgiveness. In doing so I have forgiven myself for the things others might perceive I’ve done wrongly. More importantly I have finally forgiven myself for the things I perceive I have wrongly done.
Like the character Sophia in “Golden Girls”…Picture This…
Not Sicily, but 2017, Encino, CA…I’ve agreed to go pick up lunch for myself, the boss and a coworker. I really don’t want to eat fast food (but I forgave myself) and as I pull into the drive way leading to the drive thru I glance to my left and wonder why a parked car is idling there (honest). As I approach the order speaker I hear a car horn and look back. I begin to realize that was not a parked car but rather a car approaching the drive thru as well. They were thoughtfully leaving space for those driving in to park. Horror of horrors, I would never intentionally do such a thing as cutting in line! This appears to be exactly what I have done. Just then a man approaches my car window and begins to point out the now realized obvious and asks me “who do I think I am?” Still stunned I thank him for pointing out my mistake as he irrately storms back to his car. It is now I realize there is little or nothing I can do about it since more cars have now moved into the cue of cars behind me. I forgive myself and wonder what else I might do about it.
Options? I get to the order speaker and explain to the faceless voice that I just want to drive thru without ordering. I will park and go inside since I UNintentionally cut in front of people. But wait, I forgave myself and instantly realize that will do little to ease the burden on those behind me. The voice agrees with me and I place my order. Should I pay for the order of the car behind me? It is not the angry man. That might make it better, but others have also incurred a time delay from my action and I don’t have the means or desire if I’m honest to pay for lunch for everyone. After all, wouldn’t this now involve my faux pas extending uninvited effort on the part of the faceless voice. The Voice reassures me. We are in agreement that it was a mistake, an innocent error on my part.
The point is, are we so challenged that we cannot afford to forgive each other of our mistakes? How small or large does a wrongdoing need to be before we can dispense a dose of forgiveness? Must forgiveness require a person to want forgiveness in order for it to be offered?
It occurs to me the man took more time and effort getting out of his car to confront me vs. the amount of time my error caused him delay or effort for him to forgive me. I get it – he mistakenly thought my mistaken action was intentional. His intention seemed clear. I asked the person who took my exact change and at the next window that young woman who gave me the goods for their forgiveness. I requested them to extend that to the customers that followed (yes, even Mr. Grumpy pants). I pulled forward and waited by the wall for an attendant to bring me my order.
The still offended party pulled up behind me (I was anticipating the possibility) doors locked, windows rolled up, a/c on. Hopefully realizing that enough time had been spent on this he pulled away while yelling loudly out his window a word I would never utter. I forgave him. I hope everyone else who heard it forgave him too.
Time is certainly a commodity these days. It seems forgiveness is invaluable. We are forced to waste time in traffic while we witness what would seem to many as intentional and unintentional wrongdoings. All is forgiven. We see many trying to be efficient with time as they fiddle with phones, checking in and keeping up while seeming to be intentionally or unintentionally rude. All is forgiven. That is a personal choice. But while time is fleeting and cannot be held onto – Forgiveness can be long lasting and oh-so healing.
The moral of my Sophia-esque story this day? Clearly I seek forgiveness from those who perceive I’ve wronged them. I have lovingly forgiven myself! I hope the handsome young man can find a way to smooth his angst with his own forgiveness. I’m guessing all who heard the word shouted from his car in such desperate and frustrated anger would also hope the same. Something in my heart tells me it might not have really been me but something bigger that is eating at him. Just a guess, but I hope he finds peace. I prescribe a dose of forgiveness today, it certainly helps me.