Seeking God

Lessons in forgiving

A week ago, I woke up with a load of things on my mind. The previous evening, Ronnie, one of our newly adopted dogs who is generally hyper-active, bit me when I took him for a walk. He was excited to see another dog come close by and I think he craves socialising with other canines (besides Miyaki, our other dog). When I restrained him, he turned around and bit me. Though I knew it was just animal instinct, I held on to a kind of resentment well into the night, resentment not just about the sole bite but about all the trouble he puts me through on a daily basis.

The same evening, I’d come home to a broken-down bathroom, dust all over the furniture, and muddy footprints across the house. There had been a blocked pipe and I’d asked our contractor to fix it. Without telling me what kind of work was involved, or how long, he went ahead and broke the whole bathroom down while I was at office. Then when I returned late at night, he told me it would take 10 more days to complete it. I was horrified. My elder kid’s exams were going on, and the last thing she needed was loud hammering and workmen coming in and out all day. In addition, I was expecting guests as soon as her exams ended five days later, and I definitely needed a decent-looking home. Thirdly, we only have two bathrooms. With one out of service, there were bound to be fights early morning with both girls rushing to get ready for school in the sole bathroom left. It was terrible timing and I was furious to have been taken for a fool.

And so I woke up that next morning with burning resentment and suppressed fury.

Somewhere along the way, though, a thought occurred: Let go and forgive. I heeded it. I forgave Ronnie and the contractor for messing up my life, repeating Jesus’s words: They know not what they do. Instantly, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was able to then look at and understand what the real issue was: At the core, I was nervous and tense about other goings-on in my life. The dog bite and the wrecked bathroom were merely the universe’s reflections of my inner life state. I have control issues, and boy was God hitting me right where it hurts: Leaving me with no control.

But by forgiving, I was also allowing God back into my life and saying, “Okay then, I have no control. I hereby surrender to what You decide for me.” Acceptance washed over me and I drank it up with gratitude.

Everything worked out eventually, as it always does. I know I came full circle because, yesterday night, I unwittingly give thanks for both. After taking the dogs for a late-night walk and jog, I spontaneously told my partner: “I must thank these dogs for one thing: Because of them, I have started running for the first time in my life, and I quite enjoy it. If it hadn’t been for them, I’d have never known this pleasure.”

Then, while taking bath in the newly renovated loo, I realised it was now roomier than before, the geyser works better due to spiffier piping, and the new commode is lower than the previous one, which is more suitable for a shortie like me. “Thanks, I guess,” I smiled reluctantly at God.

Cheeky as ever, God responded with a foggy chill on a day I wasn’t wearing woollen inners. I am sure I’ll see the positive side of it – just as soon as I learn to forgive the sky.

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