Sunday, March 01, 2009

Books of Life

Sometimes I feel as though the decades of my life are not so much chapters as books in a library. Early childhood memories ... the more turbulent teens (when my family struggled through my sister's bout with cancer), the vagabond era of my twenties, the stable "Michigan years" of my thirties, motherhood in my forties . Each layer builds, like an onion that alternately fills my senses with aroma ... or fill my eyes with stinging tears.

Thanks to Facebook, these past few weeks I've been in touch with people from each of my "life books." Most of the time, these strolls down memory lane are pleasant ones. Hearing from old friends -- reconnecting over old memories and new families, and sharing what God has done in our lives -- is a real blessing.

But once or twice, the memories come back with more of a slap than a caress. Two names in particular, belonging to the ex husbands of dear friends. Both men treated my friends abominably, and even now (years later) I can imagine only too clearly what I'd say to them if ever I met them on the street one day.

Yes, I know there are always at least three sides to every story (the husband's, the wife's, and the unvarnished truth), and marriage dynamics can appear very different to those viewing from the outside. Some things are always objectively wrong: adultery, violence, betrayal. When things like these happen, it's hard NOT to take sides -- even (and perhaps especially) when it's family.

What does love look like then? What does "forgiveness" look like, when the person who was wronged is someone other than yourself? Where does loyalty end ... and pointless grudge-bearing begin? Is it okay to say, "Go with God ... far, far away!" And what if the marriage has not yet ended, but is certainly in its death throes? After watching cycle after cycle of lunacy, is there ever a time to look up from your prayers and say, "ENOUGH!"?

Your thoughts? What have you gleaned from your "books of life"?


MightyMom said...

sometimes you can teach your loved one how to begin to heal and forgive by your example of forgiving and letting go. (this does in no way mean becoming callused to their very real hurt)

forgiveness between two people is NEVER about the forgiven person but rather about the forgivor.

Oh yeah, and there's always that little sticking point you know. The real butt kicker....

forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who've trespassed AGAINST US.

Sarah Reinhard said...

I say...don't friend them!

(And keep praying!)