Sunday July 13 2008 Spilled Milk

Another beautiful Sabbath day! It's another chance to recharge and recover.

What's going on in Gately's mind? My main concern is that I'm not progressing. I worry that I'm not teaching my children the gospel. What do those little eyes see? They see an impatient man, who gets all worked up over nothing. I am lax in my observance of scripture study and family home evening. I can only hope that they also see me repenting and improving.

The first time Griffin pulled the egg-breaking stunt there was quite a bit of hair pulling and jumping about. The second time we were stern, but got about the business of teaching him how to clean it up.

[For those of you wondering: as a rule we have no corporal punishment in our home.]

Well, enough griping about it. It's pre-dawn on Monday morning and I have a whole week before me like an untouched valley that no man has ever travelled. Or a blank page. What will I write on it?

As you regular readers know, Sunday is open mic day and I get to say what I please, usually politics or religion (which I don't think are nearly discussed enough in our society). My topic today is Forgiveness for which I will take as a text a talk by Gordon B. Hinckley the late mormon prophet. I bring this up by way of encourage-ment and not as a preach-ment.

"It becomes us as a grateful people to reach out with a spirit of forgiveness and an attitude of love and compassion toward those whom we have felt may have wronged us.

"We have need of this. The whole world has need of it. It is of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He taught it. He exemplified it as none other has exemplified it. In the time of his agony on the cross of Calvary, with vile and hateful accusers before him, they who had brought him to this terrible crucifixion, he cried out “Father, forgive the; for they know now what they do” (Luke 23:34).

"No of us is called on to forgive so generously, but each of us is under a divinely spoken obligation to reach out with pardon and mercy…

"…We see the need for it in the homes of the people. Where tiny molehills of misunderstanding are fanned into mountains of argument. We see it among neighbors, where insignificant differences lead to undying bitterness. We see it in business associates who quarrel and refuse to compromise and forgive when, in most instances, if there were a willingness to sit down together to speak quietly one to another, the matter could be resolved to the blessing of all.

"How difficult it is for any of us to forgive those who have injured us. We are all prone to brood on the evil done us. That brooding becomes as a gnawing and destructive canker. Is there a virtue more in need of application in our time than the virtue of forgiving and forgetting? There are those who would look upon this as a sign of weakness. Is it? I submit that it takes neither strength nor intelligence to brood in anger over wrongs suffered, to go through life with a spirit of vindictiveness, to dissipate one’s abilities in planning retribution. There is no peace in the nursing of a grudge. There is no happiness in living for the day when you can “get even.”

(”’Of You It Is Required to Forgive,’” Ensign, November 1980, p. 61.)

For those of you with children you know the great frustration of it. I love my kids beyond what I ever imagined I would, but when they are bickering and teasing it makes my eyes pop out. My inclination is to rush into the room and put on the general "beatdown". I have become a lot better with this.

In a family there is great opportunity. This is the place where my true self comes out. And sometimes it's not so pretty. But on the other side of this is to see the true beauty of another soul. I know my wife ever so well. At first she was a goddess, and then a ball of neurosis, and now fourteen years later I see her as a complete soul. The combination of all of this makes her (in my eyes) something even greater; a human being who I can respect. It flows unrestrained.

Only through long dedication do you "punch through" to the other side.

Every day is a chance for little forgivenesses. Shall I calmly teach my young six-year-old son, or just nag him? To put my hand gently on his cheek and tell him earnestly and with all the feeling of a loving father that he should not tease or bicker? And to what extent should I mingle this with tangible consequences to make the point? To give his sister a hug; to clean up the floor; to apologize to a neighbor.

I suggest that it is to understand God himself to have children. To love someone so much that you would dive headlong into a wood chipper if it would save them.

Like looking at a valley from the other side, after having travelled through it. The same place, but now part of my being.

To all those reading I give you a word of encouragement. Set the past behind. Set your face toward the coming week. Go now and give a family member a hug.

PS- I make my usual disclaimer here: I am not a very good man. Only one who is trying to do better.



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