by Sandra Allen Lovelace @SandraALovelace #WallflowerWomen
Rachel didn’t know the words from the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC. But she agreed with them. As far as she was concerned, freedom was expensive. And she wasn’t willing to pass out any until she was paid.
“You know, dear, I don’t think Hortense meant to hurt you.” Her mother set the delicate teacup back in the floral saucer. “She’s got a lot going on what with that high-powered job of hers. And she lives alone which can’t be easy.”
Rachel fiddled with the yellow cloth napkin as she swallowed the last bite of brownie. “It’s easy enough for you to say that. You aren’t the one whose deepest secret was broadcast all over creation.” She dropped her eyes then wiped her mouth as if to calm her lips.
“You two have been friends long enough for you to know better than to assume wrong motives. Hortense is kind and gentle, and compassionate. Whatever she was thinking or feeling, her heart wouldn’t lead her to betray you.” She took her daughter’s hand and squeezed it.
Tears leaked down her cheeks. She swiped the moisture away. “You’re probably right, but what am I supposed to do? She’s my best friend and now I can’t imagine even being near her.” The cotton fabric served as a hanky. “I know what you’re gonna say. ‘You could just forgive her.’ But I can’t.”
The older woman rested her hands in her lap. Seconds ticked away. “And why not?”
“Oh, Mom. All the women at church heard it. Most of the neighbors know. Won’t be long they’ll be whispering about me all over town. That is not okay.” Her hands crumpled the napkin into a ball. “Besides, how can I forgive her when she doesn’t even know the damage she’s caused. She needs to understand my pain and ask me. Then maybe I could forgive her.”
Two full minutes passed on the wall clock.
“What?” Rachel turned both palms up. “Why are you shaking your head at me?”
“So you’re willing to carry the torment you feel until you make Hortense suffer? Without even knowing what really happened? Sounds like a burden of misery to me.”
“You think I should forget about what’s inside me and forgive her. Just like that?” Snapping fingers punctuated the air.
“Well, it would take effort I’m sure. But forgiving Hortense would release you from all that turmoil. You’d be free to talk to her and find out what really happened . . . with a proper attitude.” Her eyes cut to the side. “That way you’d both be free to sort things out. Is forgiveness really such a high price to pay for such a precious friendship?”
Rachel took a long, deep breath. “I suppose it’s something to consider. If I was in her place, I might want a chance to explain. Not that I think there’s a good enough reason.”
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.*
Have you faced a similar situation?
Were you willing to pay the price of forgiveness? What happened?
Stepping out with expectancy,
*Leviticus 19:18 NASB, unless otherwise noted