Thursday, January 8, 2009


I'm a quote person. I like to collect quotes. I've even found a useful purpose for my 500 business cards that I never use - I've been writing quotes on the back of them, and keeping them to read every now and then. I like funny quotes that only make sense in context, and take me back to a memory, or poignant quotes that make you think. And I get hung on quotes, too. I'll find one I like and live with it for awhile. I was living with this one from Mary Anne Radmacher: "Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow."'

I recently read both The Shack and the Kite Runner. Both good books, interesting theology in the first, though not as life shattering to me as to others, I suppose. I agreed with most of it already. The Kite Runner, however was a challenging story. It was good, but hard to live with. However, I think I learned more about forgiveness from the Kite Runner than I did from the Shack, simply because of one quote from the Kite Runner. The narrator, Amir, is talking about his father, with whom his relationship was eternally strained. He says:

"I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night."

My adaptability strength enables me to move on quickly from emotional injuries. I find it hard, even, to hold a grudge when someone has wronged me. But I'm realizing that I much more easily hold a grudge against people who indirectly hurt me - those who hurt someone close to me, and cause me pain through association. Namely, an experience my mother had, which I haven't talked about here, and the Tennessee Conference's most recent experience with their Children and Youth coordinators. Neither of these directly affected me or my daily routine. But they affected people I love, and I find that I have a hard time letting go of that anger and resentment, even years later. 

So, this new quote has caught my soul. I'm going to live with it for awhile. We've studied forgiveness twice in Sunday school, and both times, I think we were looking for the fanfare. What makes it come? What starts the parade? But I think there is truth here: "pain... slipping away unannounced." And when we try to hold on to that pain, it's hard for us to even acknowledge when it's gone. 

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