"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Friday, July 9, 2010

Second Chances

Like anybody else, I have pockets of remembrances. Vivid images that remain planted in my brain of past childhood experiences. Some good; some not so good. One such "not so good" memory is that of my standing in the hall in grammar school and laughing at a classmate. But I wasn't the only one. The entire class had joined in on this particular occasion. Laughing. Making fun of someone who was totally humiliated and embarrassed by a situation that was common to him yet beyond his control. I don't know why that particular image has stuck with me, but in the last couple of years, it has not only planted itself there, it has haunted me. And so I began conversing with the Lord about it. I begged Him to forgive me for such disgusting and insensitive behavior and asked Him to heal in this man now in his early 50's any wounds that may still be causing him pain or discomfort. And then I added, "And, Lord, if You should see fit for this individual and my paths to cross again, I promise You I will make a personal apology to him." Seeing that I had not even seen nor heard of this classmate in over 40 years, I really didn't expect that last portion of my prayer to materialize. In fact, I assumed it was quite a safe prayer to pray. I thought God would surely take care of the situation in an "internal" manner. So you can imagine my surprise when some time later, this man's name popped up in my facebook sidebar as someone I might know. I think my first thought was, "Well, darn it."

And so I sent a friend request thinking he probably wouldn't even remember who I was. It didn't take long to receive the acceptance of friendship, and there I sat. What in heaven's name do I do now? Well, I figured if God had fulfilled His part, I ought to own up to mine. And so I wrote one of the strangest letters I think I've ever scripted and asked for forgiveness from this one whom I had surely offended some four decades ago with my heartless behavior. I prayed for mercy -- both for me and him, hoping I wasn't opening any old wounds -- and I hit the "send" button.

Time passed to the point that I actually forgot I had even written the note, until about 2 weeks later when I received a very gracious response from this one whom I had abused. His reply was evidence that God had surely done the work in this classmate's life way before He did the work in mine. The Lord not only gave my friend a second chance, He gave me one as well. I could not have been more grateful.

Why all this about second chances? Because I need another one.

Present day. Last week my husband and I took a little day trip and ended up visiting a Farmer's Market in a small community on a square. While most farmers and artisans were beginning to take down their tents and pack up to go home, one remained with all his wares in place. As I was looking at his goods, he engaged me in conversation about his material. When I looked up at him, I became immediately aware that this man was very different from me. Without going into detail, just know that my mind was racing and turning a thousand different ways, not knowing exactly what to make of the situation nor how to respond. And so I carried on politely before walking away.

What makes me so stinking mad about all of this is the later realization of my own depravity. God revealed to me my heart; and it was ugly. I walked away having labeled this man a freak, because I looked upon the outward, when what he really is on the inside is a precious child of God crying out for identity -- "Who am I?" This was indeed one of those moments that Bruce Wilkinson writes about in You Were Born for This. I had prayed "Send me, Lord" and then walked away from the very miracle mission He had for me. And by doing so, I missed out on being a conduit of God's incredible grace and magnificent love.

So here's the deal. In our short exchange under that tent, I discovered that this talented and creative craftsman is moving within 2 miles of my own home. So I'm asking God for a second chance. For if He can orchestrate and bridge a 40 year lapse, certainly He can arrange yet another divine appointment within a much shorter period of both time and space. And until then, you can bet my eyes will be wide open in anticipation and expectation.

O God, give me a second chance to be a living link between heaven and earth!

Just an ordinary moment...


Deidra said...

I am so blessed and rebuked by your blog on second chances. Who among us does not want/need a second chance? I love your candor. I love hearing from others about the things the Lord is teaching. I am so grateful that He is faithful...even when I am not.Your writing reveals your tender heart. That is refreshing. I was amazed that after 40 years the Lord would give you that opportunity, and you took it. I had a similiar experience as a fifth grader of mocking a boy in our class who was visibly different from the rest of us. Through the years I thought on it with shame. I, too, repented of that, but I never had the opportunity to apologize to that person. He is not living, and I'm not sure when he died. I believe that he was a believer, however. Thank you for this lesson this day. Have a wonderful weekend.

Joey said...

Oh, you will have that opportunity... I know it.

God works that way... you and I know it.

I had a similar experience when I was in High School. A teacher called out one of my friends for not using deodordant, and people laughed. I wasn't one of them. She didn't know that he came from a very poor family, and I was humiliated for him, and ashamed of her.

Two days later they announced that he had died working on a farm with his brother.

I think of that often, because she was married to a Minister. I can't help but wonder what went through her mind when she was told he had died.

We find Jesus in the most amazing people. We just have to be open, and "fear not", because they are different.

What a wonderful blog, and what a beautiful heart you have. You're so truthful and open with yourself and your feelings.

You inspire me.