Unexpected Grace was given...Something happened at dinner last night, well a lot happened at dinner last night, but something BIG happened to me at dinner last night.
I've written, more than once I think, about Sweetpea and the drama issues she is already having with other girls at school. In the second half of this post, I went into some detail about one little girl in particular who had been giving her a hard time back in Kindergarten and again in second grade.
She has been best friends with the same little girl since some time last year. For ease of story telling, I'll call her Tiffany, although that is not her real name. Tiffany has suddenly become very hostile toward Sweetpea, taking her belongings and swinging sticks at her on the playground; asking for an apology for something that Sweetpea is completely unaware of; turning classmates against her and making this into a "my side" and "your side" kind of thing. Y'all? They are in third grade!
And while I try to explain to my daughter that it feels like the end of the world right now but it isn't, she's 8. This is the end of the world for her! She is so hurt and upset and confused about what is going on and she has been talking to her Dad about it (unknown to me until last night).
They were talking at the dinner table while I finished up dinner and I was getting my feathers a little ruffled. He was telling her to do things and say things that I really don't want to teach my kids to do and say. Now, before anyone thinks my husband is teaching our child vulgar things, he is not! BUT, I want my kids to learn to always be kind. We can never know exactly what someone else is going through or why they may be acting out in this way, but we can control our reactions. I don't want my kids to think that an "eye for an eye" is the right way to handle every situation.
AND, I happen to know this girls parents have been separated and going though a divorce for the last year or longer. Not that I think that is an excuse for being violent or unkind to anyone, but it is a plausible cause.
I decided to tell Sweetpea a story of a friendship I lost a few years back.
When my blog was still brand new, I wrote about Kasey, and a situation I thought I managed well. I even stated in that post that I was proud of the way I handled the situation. In hind sight? That post needs some editing!
As I told Sweetpea, I didn't do anything wrong in that situation. For years, I harbored anger and resentment toward Kasey for ruining our friendship, for hurting me, and, in general, I just mourned the loss of that relationship. And just as Sweetpea really believes she doesn't owe Tiffany an apology, I really truly believed I didn't owe Kasey one.
But as a told this story to my daughter, I could barely hold myself together. God had convicted me about this before; stubbornly, I pushed it out of my head and never did anything about it. But remember that sermon my pastor preached on Grace? How it's undeserved? How Grace asks the question, 'who can I show kindness to?' expecting nothing in return?
That day I heard His whispers again...
"you never closed that door...you have unfinished business with her..."
And I wish someone had told me 5 years ago, what I told Sweetpea last night:
- life is too short
- there are two sides to every relationship and both people have to work equally hard at maintaining it
- always be kind, even when someone is unkind to you
- saying sorry, doesn't have to mean admitting fault
- if saying "sorry" saves the friendship, is it worth it?
And I knew, I had to try too.
After all this time, I only know how to contact Kasey through Facebook (we aren't friends, but have mutual friends).
I told her that I didn't know what to say, so I was just blurting it out - I owed her an apology.
Not for what I did, but for what I didn't do.
I didn't take her call that day she called to say she was sorry.
I didn't talk to her even after I got her message.
I told her it was a poor excuse but that I had just been so hurt by the situation that I couldn't get past it in time to save our friendship.
I told her she didn't have to respond and that I was doing this expecting nothing in return, and I wished her well.
I don't know what her reaction was, but within an hour, I had a written response which brought tears to my eyes!
Without directly quoting her, I'll share an overview of what she said:
You never owed me an apology, although I do appreciate it; I have no hard feelings toward you and I honestly believe God put us in each other's lives for a reason - to grow? to learn something about ourselves, maybe?
It's nice to know you still think of me (and she called me a "great person" - jaw to the floor!) and I wish you and your family well.
And you know what?
I received so much more Grace from her today than I ever gave her.
I am humbled and I "pray with grace that this world sees in me" someone after your own heart...