Friday, June 27, 2008

Heart(s) of Forgiveness

Last week, I drove up to Maine to spend the day with my Mom and celebrate her birthday (June 20th). We took a long walk along the path that bordered the rocky coastline at Portland Headlight. As we started out on the path, I prayed that I would find a heart rock. I planned to make amends to my Mom that day. I needed strength and assurance from God that my conversation with her would be fruitful. I'd thought about making amends to her for years, but didn't have the courage, willingness or humility to follow-through with it...until now. About one month prior, I'd asked her to let me know when she was ready to have this conversation. As we were driving out to the headlight, out of the blue, she said, very quietly, "Do you remember awhile ago you mentioned you wanted to have a talk with me? Well, today would be a good day." Long mind raced back to that conversation. Yes, I'd asked her to tell me when she was ready. Today was the day. Was I ready? Honestly (in that moment) I wasn't. I prayed to God for a willing heart. We had a few miles to go before we arrived at the Headlight -- a few miles and lots of silent prayers.

When we arrived at the parking lot, I remember thinking to myself, "How and when do I start this conversation?" The words stuck thickly in my throat. Breathing deeply, I summoned my prayers becoming deeper. I took a few steps as we started on our walk. I stopped in amazement -- a heart rock lay in my path. God had answered my prayer. Sending thanks skyward, I continued on.
I noticed the tiniest heart rock a few steps from the first one; it was almost imperceptible to the human eye, except to the trained 'heart rock' aficionado (It's hard for me not to see hearts wherever I go). I picked it up and turned it over in my hand; just to make sure that it really was a heart rock. was the real thing! I reached out and put it into my Mom's hand. To pass on to her a gift from God.
When I was little I remember that I would give her little 'gifts' that I would make or find. It reminded me that the simplest gesture from the heart reaches the heart. Shortly after I'd found these two hearts, my Mom found a few of her own. The day ended with a pocketful of heart rocks...we were showered in love.
Each piece of my heart that I offered to her; each acknowledgment of the hurt caused by my harsh words and judgments over the years began to loosen the hardness within my heart. How do you make up for lost years, words unspoken, actions not taken, love not shown? My eyes opened to see the truth. All those years that I spent blaming, resenting and misdirecting my anger at my Mother stole precious time and intimacy from our relationship. Nothing was ever resolved from my outbursts. Healing began with my admission and acknowledgment of my wrongs towards her. Forgiveness heals. Love heals. It begins with the decision to extend your heart to put it on-the-line. What have you got to lose?

God's love exists all around. When I share my heart with someone, the love within me grows and expands. My stone heart of unforgiveness transformed into a heart of flesh as I mended the strained relationship with my Mom that afternoon.

I LOVE you Mom!


Sherry said...

We both share a very simular passion. That is very cool. Your story has inspired me to think it is OK to be more open and real. I have always been aprehensive about sharing it all! Thanks for making real life confessions and opening your heart to mine and the world!

Kimberly 'Butterfly Wings' said...

I discovered an incredible freedom in sharing the truth. I'm always grateful when God uses me to inspire others. How paradoxical it is that when I share my pain it brings hope and release to others. It is OK to be real!

Maybe you'll share a story about one of your heart rocks? :-)