There is a show on Friday nights called, "Who Do You Think You Are?"
It showcases celebrities searching for the family history. They usually select someone in their family they want to know more about and then research (with a big shout out to ancestry.com) to find out more about their family member.
It's actually really interesting in the dramatized for television sort of way (and I also discovered that Kim Catrall is British, who knew!?)
A few weeks ago I was watching the show with Pete and Lionel Ritchie was the celebrity featured. He was investigating what happened to one of his great (something) grandfathers. He ended up playing a huge roll in laying ground work for the Civil Rights movement and doing a lot of good. However, he also left his wife and was never heard from again by that part of the family. As I'm watching the show I just keep thinking, who cares? The guy abandoned the family so just forget him and move on. I looked at Pete and said, "You know, I just realized I'm really not nearly as gracious or forgiving as I think I am."
Because I was so over hearing about this guy that did a jerky and shady thing. He screwed up, that's it. Don't deal with it, don't address it, cut them out and move on.
It was a scary look into my heart.
The next week Kim Catrall was featured and she was looking for her mothers father. He had abandoned his wife and 3 young daughters about 60 or so years previously. The one daughter couldn't remember what her father looked like at all because she was just an infant when he left. The only photo they had of the man was a group picture with his face peeking out from behind a curtain in the house behind the group. As Kim progressed she realized that her Grandfather was a bigamist who hid in plain sight. He was a stand up guy with a new family while his old family almost starved because he left them with nothing. She began to be openly almost hostile towards him and in the end found when he died and decided she had no need to meet the surviving children from his 2nd marriage. She was done with him.
In the credits at the end of the show it stated that her mother and aunts ended up contacting the children and beginning a relationship with their half siblings but Kim did not participate.
She was just my style.
If it gets sticky cut and run. The slightest sign of hurt being possible duck and cover. They mess up, chop them off like an offending body part.
It's no secret that I struggle with forgiveness, both of others and of myself.
But I generally had this ok feeling about the amount of grace I offered to other people.
For so long I was the "it's ok, no big deal" girl and I was too far the other way. I wouldn't see the need to offer grace because I was the one that needed it since whatever it was that happened was likely all my fault anyway. Then I was the angry girl and the rage fed me and I was so full with rage that grace had no room to develop.
But now, I'm trying to level out. I'm trying to balance the emotions and the relational power so that I'm not a doormat but I'm not a bull in a china shop either. You guys, it's really really hard.
Because I have to be intentional with my interactions with people. I have to be purposeful when speaking to people so I don't carelessly wound them because I'm afraid. I have to stand firm in the belief that my heart is worth guarding that that I don't have to accept the burdens of others because His burden is light.
I am constantly overwhelmed with how hard it is to be grace-filled and forgiving to others, how much work it takes to fight against your natural desires while still maintaining some measure of self-value. (On a related and possibly future blog post topic I also struggle with the difference between completely non-existent self-esteem and not thinking more highly of myself than I ought)
I'm just a work in progress guys, and I'm under some pretty substantial construction right now.