“Looked at from a spiritual standpoint, our discomfort in any given situation provides a signal that we are out of alignment with spiritual law and are being given an opportunity to heal something.” ― Colin C. Tipping, Radical Forgiveness
Rosemary picked up the phone and heard panic in the voice of her friend Sally. “The pasture next to my house is on fire.” Sally said. “Your children were seen leaving the scene, and I’m concerned.”
Rosemary turned and looked out the window. She could see Ethan and Evan coming toward her hell-bent, with panic on their faces. So Rosemary and her sons stood in front of the window and watched until there was no more smoke. Then Rosemary said to the boys, “What happened?”
“We set the fire, Mom. We did it for fun. We didn’t think there was going to be any problem. We were in the middle of a big field. We were feeding the fire little wisps of hay, then suddenly, it spread to the whole field; it was all we could do, running as fast as we could, to get away from the fire.”
Rosemary went to the phone and dialed Sally’s number. She asked Sally if she was all right and if the fire had reached her home or had burned the fences.
“No,” said Sally. “Quite miraculously, the fire was contained to the field and no real harm was done.”
Rosemary said, “We will be responsible. The boys admitted they set the fire and we will cover any expense. Who owns the field?”
“My mother-in-law owns it,” Sally told her.
“You tell your mother-in-law we will cover any expense and if she wants to press charges against the boys, I will take them to the police station. She doesn’t need to track them down.”
After she talked to her mother-in-law, Sally called Rosemary and said, “You know, we had a long talk and we prayed together. We are grateful that nothing terrible happened. We are grateful no real damage was done; the field had been harvested, and nothing happened other than the boys got scared out of their wits. So we’re not going to do anything; we think they’ve probably learned their lesson.”
Radical forgiveness. What causes instant and radical forgiveness is almost always gratitude; gratitude that a frightening event turned into a near miss. Gratitude always provides us with the opportunity to heal quickly. In this instance, gratitude for what didn’t happen spared Sally, Rosemary and their families days, weeks, months, maybe years of bad, mad, sad feelings and freed them from embracing any feelings of guilt, blame and shame.
They all accepted their opportunity to heal.What would you have done?
“When we say to you, make peace with where you are, we want you to make peace with where everyone is; we want you to make peace with the world events; we want you to make peace with where your friend is in the relationship. We want it to be all right with you where anybody is.”—Abraham-Hicks
A number of years ago, I was pulling into a convenience store parking space, and just as I did, the young man in the car next to me opened his car door without looking. All I saw in my peripheral vision was a car door with a hand wrapped around it. Then, I heard a loud scraping noise and a scream. I threw the gear shift into park and flew to the other side of the car, expecting to find a hand with severed fingers. The young man and I just stood there and looked at the point of impact, which was within a fraction of an inch of his hand. The side of my car and the door of his car had collided, but he wasn’t hurt.
He looked about 17 and started to blather: “I’ve never had an accident and my father’s going to kill me, and the insurance is going to go up and I don’t know if he’ll ever let me drive again.
Then I started to cry, which didn’t help his condition one bit! He said, “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry. Look what I’ve done. I’m so sorry.”
I said, “I’m not crying because of what happened to our cars. I’m crying because we just witnessed something amazing. You know, car doors can be fixed, but suppose you had lost your hand?”
What color there was left in his face disappeared. “I’m a football player and I wouldn’t have been able to catch the ball and I wouldn’t have been able to pass the ball and I would have lost my college scholarship,” he whispered.
“Whoa,” I said. “Let’s just stop for a minute and be grateful that we avoided a terrible tragedy. Now I’m going to get back in the car, back out gently and we’ll hope no damage was done to the door of your car.
I backed up my car a bit then got out to look at the cars. There was very little damage to his car; just a few inches of lightly scraped paint on the edge of the front door. Mine, on the other hand, had a pretty good gauge in it.
I said, “You’ll have to tell your father about the damage.”
“I will,” he said. “You’re not going to charge me any money for that hole in your car?”
“No. I’m going to drive away and be very thankful that you did not lose your hand.”
I made peace in my heart with both of us. What would you have done?
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