People do unforgivable things. When it’s a parent …
Parents are special. For oh-so-many-years, they are our protectors, our guides, ready with wisdom and patience.
But when that “unforgivable” happens, they become demons, rife with evil intention masked with a sickly smile. We become not just their victim, but their “kept” victim, always at hand for the next offense, real or imagined.
It is all changed in that instant.
Hatred burns away the tears.
And then time passes.
A great deal of time.
And life happens.
A great deal of life.
In time, the pain dissipates through the distraction of events as the days and years pass.
Perhaps it is more certain for those children who, in time, become parents who will then witness in themselves that which they have inherited from their own parents, and the parent’s parent will ultimately then become a human being. We eventually grant our own parents their humanity. We accept them as they are, human and flawed like ourselves.
In time, we come to understand what “human” is in all its confusing dimensions and, ultimately, we comprehend that our parents were simply human. No more, no less. Just human.
Sometimes that recognition comes before they’re gone; sometimes not.
What was unforgivable becomes understandable and perhaps, forgivable.
But still the trust is gone. In its place is the recognition that, at least while we can, each person must see to his and her own life, to their own personal responsibility.
The unforgivable is gone.
But the next generation doesn’t wait. The next generation arrives when it arrives, not when we’re ready for it.
And because you are human, willingly or not, consciously or not, in an instant your inheritance is there and perpetuating itself upon your own children.
The unforgivable happens.
And we see that our failings – our inheritance – has passed into the next generation.
“God help us,” you ask.
And rightly so.
We are, after all, merely human.
But God gave us the means, both the awareness to recognize it as well as the compassion to want to change it for the better.
Speaking solely from my own experience, this is when I feel the Holy Spirit in my life.
It moves and, if I am paying attention, I will feel it. Things won’t go as I’d planned and, in that “mistake” there is an unforeseen opportunity. A door opens that I didn’t know was there.
Now, this is going to sound silly so prepare yourself.
Most of us, myself included, expect miracles to be big things, huge life-saving events with no explicable or scientific explanation.
But you would be wrong.
Miracles are small, sometimes so small that you hardly notice.
They are miniscule.
Apparently inconsequential. But there you would be wrong.
God knows that life’s events are like a long series of dominoes, one falling into the other and, over a long string of cause and effect, something important finally comes about.
In science fiction, it is postulated that time travel to a far distant date in the past might cause “The Butterfly Effect” and change everything we see and know today. This effect is named for the accidental death of some hypothetical creature, perhaps a butterfly, in the incredibly distant past which might trigger, or fail to trigger, the fall of some domino in some millenia-long cause and effect chain leading to the world as we know it.
Make a small change and, if it’s the right one – or the wrong one – the whole world is changed.
The Holy Spirit operates there, in the mundane details.
Making it through a green light when I expected to be caught by the red, the Holy Spirit makes my arrival into an opportunity timely instead of too late.
Or catching the red and then being stuck behind a left turning car that traps me for yet another cycle of the light, I am thus not a few blocks farther down the road when an accident happens that otherwise would’ve involved me. Instead, I drive carefully past and whisper, “There but by the Grace of God, am I.”
Can the Holy Spirit operate through something as simple but high-tech as a mouse click on a list of internet URLs?
Does God read HTML, understand IP addresses and know about Domain Name Servers in the World Wide Web?
Late last week, I was making my way through my favorite blogs. Pressed for time, I intended to skip one but, when I moved the mouse past one link and attempted to click on the next, my arm moved forward and I clicked the skipped link just the same.
Aware that the Holy Spirit moves in me this way, I wondered, “What do you have for me here?”
As the web page loaded, I read an unusually heart-felt posting by the author. The experience they wrote about was, in many ways, like one of my own. I understood.
So, I left a heart-felt comment and, a day later, there was a reply. We had connected. The situation was unchanged but we had connected. We accepted that these things happen. And, in that connecting, the event became something that another person had expereinced, and survived.
Bad, yes, but survivable.
Unforgivables are deep wounds with horrible scars. They affect us for the rest of our lives. We are permanently changed.
If you distance yourself from the hurt, the healing takes a long time, perhaps longer than your life.
If you stay connected, the wound will hurt, unbearably so sometimes, but you may eventually become human. And as you do, so will they.
The Holy Spirit is very wise and oh so clever. It knows how to heal Unforgivables. It knows how to work miracles.
And it works in the details.