When Meg's got home from school yesterday, instead of changing out of her uniform into casuals, she decided to put on her pj's....yes, in the middle of the day! A short while later I asked her if she'd like to take a walk down to the post box to post a letter she had written to her best-friend Danielle, who has recently moved to another city. Of course she was eager to go, but not so eager to get out of her pyjamas....she was comfortable like that, after all, and if she didn't have a problem with it, why should I? The second we started heading towards the gate, Max started jumping around and getting all excited, obviously presuming (as he always does) that he was going with...so, we asked Luke to put on his lead (Max's, not Luke's) and come with us. Well, as you can see from the pic, Luke was far from impressed first with Meghan's daytime apparel and secondly because Max literally stops every 5 metres, either to rest (he isn't the fittest dog around) or to mark that particular section of sidewalk. Talk about creating a spectacle - one gentleman completely stopped in his driveway and had a good laugh, although I can't say at who....my pyjama-clad daughter, my exasperated son....or just simply at Max who rather resembles a miniature bear.
On a more serious note, the concept of forgiveness has really been clouding my mind lately. Over the past couple of weeks there have been several occasions when either I or someone in my family has been "hurt" or I have heard a story or read a blog about an insensitive act causing pain/emotional trauma to someone. And I know the theory surrounding it all, which is that because we are blessed with God's forgiveness when we ourselves have done wrong, we are in turn to forgive those who have done us wrong. There are times when this is something we do without even giving it a second thought, but there are other times when putting that theory into practice is a whole lot easier said than done, especially when you don't see any remorse in your "offender" and, even worse, you know for sure that if they had the opportunity to know that their actions would hurt you, they would still go ahead and do it anyway. When I least expected some clarification on how to actually achieve forgiveness, last night I read something out of a book Meghan and I read together ("Time For Two" by Danila Liebenberg). "Life offers no guarantee against pain. Pain is often caused by people who hurt you. As soon as you are hurt, you have a choice to either forgive this person or to wait in bitterness until that person receives his due." And then she goes on to suggest the following steps in order to achieve forgiveness :
"Admit to yourself what has happened to you, what it has done to you and how it is still affecting you. Do not be alarmed and draw away from how you really feel. Ultimately the truth sets you free. Pray that God will help you to forgive. Ask God's help to pray for the person/s by name. Forgive the person in prayer and in thought. Allow your pain to make you aware of how pain can affect others.
True forgiveness is an active deed. Forgiveness is not an instant trip or an instant cure. It could take you months, even years. Take the steps towards forgiveness at your own pace. Walk the long road of forgiveness to the end, DO NOT TURN AWAY."
Danila's suggested approach on achieving forgivess by literally breaking the emotions down to their core by having to admit that that person hurt you, and the surrendering of pride that sometimes goes with being able to admit it (ie, I can't believe that I allowed myself to be hurt by THAT particular person) and then allowing yourself to heal at your own pace, really encouraged me to make a greater effort at being able to forgive. Sometimes forgiveness is "romanticised" by the idea of simply going through the motions of "forgive and forget" and expecting a wonderful peace to befall you, without actually having searched your heart and admitting to yourself exactly how you were affected by the wrongdoing. So here's to pursuing true forgiveness!