Tonight I went to a concert! The first one in ages, and high school band concerts do not count, even though they are wonderful. This one was very good, too, and I had a great time.
The concert was a fund-raiser for the hospital, sponsored by the Rotary Club. It was David’s idea to get tickets, almost a necessity, since he works at the hospital and his boss is a member of the Rotary Club. What can you do? But it was very entertaining and enjoyable, as was the company of my friend, Dawn.
I won’t go into the reasons I went with Dawn instead of David, as originally planned. David had an interesting reason for bowing out, but I won’t open that can of worms right now. Dawn is the secretary where he works, and he asked her if she would like to go in his place. Of course, this was all a big surprise to me, three hours before the concert.
Dawn is about my age, and she has three boys. Her story is the stuff you would read about in novels, and never believe it would happen in real life. Her youngest boy is 16, and when he was 4, Dawn’s husband left her for another man. He never really kept in touch with Dawn and the boys, and just a couple weeks ago, he died of liver failure from alcoholism. Dawn and her sons went to the funeral, and there was also a memorial service a week or so later at a park, with a reception following in a gay bar. Dawn said she went to the park, but not to the bar. Her boys went to the funeral, but that’s it.
She told me about a eulogy she gave at the funeral. She did it for the boys — she took the opportunity to share stories about their dad from their childhoods, and mentioned how each of the boys in turn shared various good qualities that their dad had. She’s an incredibly brave and unselfish person…and her sons love her for it.
I know how easy it is to focus on the negative, especially with the people you know the best. How much better to always see the best in people, to focus on the good qualities and build them up in turn. Dawn is such an example to me of how important it is to forgive, not just for the other person, but for yourself.
I’m sure lots of people by now have heard about the study that encourages people not to apologize, because it will make them feel better about themselves. That misses the whole point. Apologies are not about yourself, they are about the other person. It’s the epitome of selfishness to hurt someone else and not even feel the need to say you are sorry. We all do stupid things sometimes. If you apologize to someone for some dumb thing you said, it doesn’t diminish you. It restores relationships, and provides the self-confidence you need to just be yourself. It also takes humility to accept an apology. Time for a group hug — forgive, forget, and move on.
Dawn’s story is an amazing example to me of how God’s grace can totally change your attitude. She forgave her ex for leaving her alone with 3 young boys, and it manifests in her life as hope.