Two weeks ago I spent the afternoon with a good friend touring parts of Irvine that I have yet to see. Amongst our multiple stops for beverages and bathrooms we had some good conversations about whom each of us really is. Being that I’ve only been living in Orange County for 7 months, I have yet to grow deep-rooted friendships, so there are still a lot of things I don’t know about people and vice versa.
Amongst the many stories of adventures and talk of childhood dreams, he asked me about my faith. I am always honored and eager to talk faith if someone brings up the topic, because I know of some people who are hostile to any talk of a god or afterlife. After some talk of why I believe what I do, and on a deeper level, what I truly believe, my friend asked me probably the best question I’ve ever been asked.
He asked: “Do you believe in miracles?”
Boom. I’ve never been asked this, and for the most part I’ve never really asked this of myself. I took some time to think over and digest the question, then I answered. Now, I don’t consider myself to be one who can pull answers like these out of nowhere on a regular basis, so this really impressed myself as well as him.
My answer was: “I believe to truly forgive in this day and age is a miracle.”
I went on to explain how I feel that in America we’ve used science and modern medicine to negate the need for physical miracles to happen (but I fully believe that in places like Africa miracles of that caliber do happen). If I get ill or break a bone, there are plenty of expert doctors in the USA who can fix me up, thus a need to be divinely healed is no longer a necessity, but emotional healing is something that a lot of people suffer from, myself included.
Just the other day I reacted to a scenario in a really childish way, and I knew it. The guilt of what I did followed me around for a solid day, and I had trouble interacting with the other person involved because of my guilt. I also wasn’t helping my situation by trying to justify my childish response to the scenario.
So I finally got the courage to approach him and ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness, and forgiving, can be, and for me often is, one of the hardest things in life to do. I felt sick most of the day because I knew I’d have to face the person and humble myself to ask for forgiveness.
But asking for forgiveness isn’t as bad as my internal struggle made it feel. As soon as I apologized, and he brushed it off as nothing, I felt free. My stomach stopped churning, and my mind cleared up. No longer was my guilt and shame weighing me down and clouding my mind with negative thoughts. What was done was done, and our relationship was free to progress.
Every time someone chooses to forgive, a miracle occurs. The hardest things in life are the most rewarding, and that holds true for forgiveness as well.