Recently a friend of mine wrote me about her father passing away. She, like I, had a difficult relationship with her father, and while she’d forgiven him for the many ways he hurt her, they always struggled. I, too, feel like I’ve forgiven my father for the problems in the past, but he is not in my life. And while I like to think I don’t need to keep him in my life as part of the forgiveness process, there is a part of me that is not entirely settled with how things stand…but I don’t know what to do about it.
My friend is grieving in a way that I suspect I will also grieve when the man who fathered me dies. This isn’t a chapter that is finished, but when searching for today’s Sabbath Revival post, this one by Heather H back in December 2006 resonated with me.
My good friend’s step-dad died on Sunday night. He was in his early-60’s and healthy as far as we all knew. But he just fell over and died. My friend didn’t have any details when she told me, but she just kept saying, “I’m so sad.” However, this sadness is coupled with relief that her relationship with him, that has been difficult in the past, has been better the past few years. She is relieved that she doesn’t hold the same anger towards him as she has before, glad that things are better, that they have shared love and not just misunderstanding.
Another friend of mine recently had one of his close friends die in a helicopter crash. They hadn’t seen each other in a while due to this man’s job that took him all over the world, but they had been in touch via email and were looking forward to seeing one another again as soon as he returned to the US. Because of the suddenness of it all, because of his youth, because most people in his life feel like precious time they should have been able to spend with him has been stolen away I have had many conversations with my friend about how we want to conduct our lives, how we want to act in our relationships with our Heavenly Father’s other children.
We do not know if we will have time to forgive someone later. We can not know if the plans we have for tomorrow will come to pass. All we know is that we are here now. This makes it even more vital to seek charity in each of our relationships. If someone has wronged us, it is time today to access the Savior’s atonement and let him heal us; we can in turn have His pure love fill us and it will guide and comfort us as we interact and care for the people in our life. Carol Petranek’s article in our current issue, Watching Over Mom, explores her search for this kind of charity in her relationship with her mother after her father’s death. I love how she shows us her journey: what she had to realize, how she had to change, and ultimately the joy that came from her work at charity.
What enables you to conduct your life with charity? How do you remember to use the time we have in the way we need to? What insights did you gain from Carol’s article?