A few days ago I drafted the title of this post. I know I had something in mind, something on my heart, something I wanted to share with others. I think it was from a book I have been reading: Do yourself a favor and forgive. I have mentioned that I have been studying forgiveness, and I know my heart has changed greatly and my patience has increased. I no longer condemn others for perceived shortcomings--although I border on chiding them for being so hard on themselves and over-apologizing. :) Yeah, that wasn't me even a decade ago.
I remember getting the oil changed in my first car. My husband was along for the experience, and as my best friend, he was also responsible for serving as my mirror that day. Thankfully, I don't remember the particulars anymore (that's another post for another day), I do however remember my husband telling me as the service agent walked away that I was being unreasonable. I think I was demanding services I thought I was entitled and had not received. I embarrassed and shamed the service agent into providing them at low or no cost. The service point is long out of business. I remember the anger, the rage, the impetuous girl who wasn't getting her way. I remember being told by my mirror that it wasn't an appropriate way to behave. I was selfish.
Slowly, but surely, I began to change. I remember as a child the joy one or the other of my parents felt by getting a buy-one, get one discount--but it wasn't advertised. The clerk had only charged for one of the stacked items--she hadn't noticed there were two in our basket. It happened another time with a laundry basket. I thought, by example, that this was the greatest thing ever. It carried into my early adulthood.
A year or two ago I was shopping at our local discount store with my parents. I found a great bargain and purchased two beautiful Dhurri rag rugs that day (these are not the same rugs in the link, but an example), but ask the clerk told me my total, I was sure it couldn't be right--I had a few other small items, but the rugs were nearly $10 each. My bill was well under $20.00. I stopped and asked the clerk if she had charged me for both rugs as I had rolled them together to make it easier to carry them. She had not, thanked me for noticing and added the second rug to my bill. I gladly paid and left. My parents were somewhat surprised by this. One indicated that I had passed up a deal by correcting the mistake. And yet inside, I knew what I had done. It wasn't the first time I had caught and corrected a mistake like this one since that day at the oil change place, but I had indeed changed. I was happy to catch and correct the error, even though I paid more cash in the end. I was happy to have ensured that things were done the right way in the transaction. Maybe it's because I've been responsible for budgets and accounting. Maybe because I have kept sales inventory during a brief stint as a direct seller that I knew someone would pay for the mistake had I not pointed it out. I would have carried that with me and been reminded of the wrong every time I looked at the rugs in my kitchen.
This has been a long way of talking about forgiveness and anger. I believe that anger comes from unforgiveness. I believe that we are so much more prone to upset, insult and injury when we carry anger with us. I heard on the radio this morning a point that hit home: Forgiveness was not created for those we forgive--it was created by God for us, so that we may let go of anger, frustration and disappointment. It is a process, and it involves forgiving others, our perceived transgressions, and forgiving ourselves for giving safe harbor to anger and resentment.