By now I shouldn't be surprised by the lessons I learn from my children, and while I'm not really surprised that they each continue to teach me about grace, compassion, patience, grit, love,.... I am always amazed at when God decides to show up with a lesson.
A few weeks ago Landry was running into school just like she has done 1000 times. Except on this morning, as she was approaching the doors, another family was trying to walk in and Landry bumped into her friend and almost tripped the sweet momma holding her baby.
Me: Landry....say you are sorry.
She froze. She teared up. She hid behind my leg.
Me: Landry... say you are sorry. You ran into your friend and I know it was an accident, but you need to say you're sorry.
We followed them to his classroom.
We followed them to the baby's classroom.
And at this point I was just trying to talk myself in the follow through. I mean, she didn't do anything malicious, but she did run into someone and I'm just trying to teach her to say she is sorry.
We chatted for a minute and she finally worked up the courage.
Landry: I sorry for running into you.
Andrew: That's ok!!
And that was it.
But something in me just stirred and I wondered, "When did we switch from being slow to apologize and quick to forgive to being quick to apologize and slow to forgive?" When did "I'm sorry" just become second nature - no matter how big or small our transgressions?
Landry was afraid to say she was sorry. She was scared. She was worried about being in trouble (even though she wasn't at all) and nervous that her friend was mad at her.
Andrew just wanted to play with blocks.
Slow to apologize. Quick to forgive.
As adults we throw "I'm sorry" around like confetti at a party.
We also hang on to forgiveness as if it was our last possession.
Why do we do that?
One of the best lessons I've learned in life is that forgiveness doesn't just "free" the person you are forgiving... it frees us. We are released from anger, we let go of our grudges, we are no longer tied to the bitter. Letting go isn't always as easy as when we were young, and apologizing may come to quickly at times but there is such wisdom in what I witnessed.
And while this may not be revolutionary to anyone but me - I just loved that in that moment, I saw so clearly a beautiful reminder of what life can look like when we apologize with meaning and offer grace instead of anger.