Do Whatever It Takes

Personally, I find it very easy to say I’m sorry when I’m the one who was wrong.  My conscience bothers me and I have a hard time finding peace when there is discord in a relationship, especially when I’m the one at fault. But, what about the times when we are the ones who are wronged and they owe us an apology?

As parents, we raise our children with “Say please, thank you, and I’m sorry.” We teach them to be polite, humble, and even brave. No matter what your age, when you’re the one in the right, it takes incredible courage to pursue forgiveness and heal a broken relationship. Sometimes, it’s just best to eat a little crow. For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase, Urban Dictionary defines it as: “To eat crow implies, at its mildest, an unpleasant action since the flesh of the crow is believed to be unpalatable.”

I want to share a life story, which I hope will illustrate those certain times when you have to open yourself up to false accusation, criticism, anger, bitterness, or even unforgiveness and press on for a reconciliation.

It was August 1982 and my husband and I decided to move to California to start a business practice, leaving both our families and friends for the great unknown. For months, Jim spent the week in California and flew home weekends. I was tasked with selling the house and caring for our 3 sons (4, 3, and 1). I listed it with a local broker and infuriated my mother-in-law, who had a part-time real estate practice in a different city. She refused to talk to me, even though I tried to explain. Our relationship was completely severed. About 10 months later, I was tucking the boys into bed. We were saying our prayers and blessing family members (including grandparents). A yearning so strong rose up inside of me. I said to myself, “These boys need their grandmother. Whatever it takes, I’m going to get her back.” And so, I turned off the light, went to the family room, sat down, picked up the phone, and made the call. With my stomach queasy, my mouth dry, and my voice shaky, I asked Mom to forgive me and to please come back into our lives. The call lasted almost an hour and I had to hear all the reasons why I was wrong several times, but in the end, the matter was settled and reconciliation was made.

Less than a week later, a package with Mom’s handwriting addressed to me arrived. In it was a ceramic heart box with the words “You are Loved”. No note. No letter. Just the heart. I kept it on the windowsill by the kitchen sink for many, many years as a reminder to make peace, whatever it takes.

Nana’s Nudge: It’s not a matter of being right or being a better person. It’s a matter of the heart. Be a peacemaker.
Nana’s Songs: Forgiveness  (Matthew West) | Forgive Me (Trolls) | Forgiveness (TobyMac)
Nana’s Prayer: Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son, Jesus, to pave the way for me to be reconciled to You. Help me to be quick to forgive and quick to seek forgiveness as He taught in words and by example. When everything within me wants to stand firm in my “rights”, help me to lay them down, pick up my cross, and follow Him. (Mt 18:21-35)

It’s Okay to be YOU!

I’ve always loved music and enjoy singing along. In fact, in 1956 my mother received a call from my kindergarten teacher. With great anxiety my mother listened to Mrs. Clevenger: “Mrs. Best? In all my years as a teacher, I have never had a child like yours.” Mother (gasping) replies with, “What has she done?” The reply, ” Oh, no, Mrs. Best! I’ve never had a child with perfect pitch. She’s a wonder.” Whew, what a relief!

Fast forward to 1982…. I’m a mother of three sons aged 4, 3, and 9 mo. We’re on our way to Ryan’s preschool. The music is playing, I’m singing along, and I hear Ryan’s sweet voice, “Oh, Mommy, please don’t sing!” What?! So I stop singing. Next time we’re in the car, the music is playing, and I’m singing along. Again, “Oh, Mommy, please don’t sing!” So I stopped and began to whistle. From that day forward, I stopped singing when the children were in the car. But you can bet I whistled!

Here’s my point. When you have joy inside and it’s gotta get out, let it out. Sometimes there’s a scream too. I will NEVER forget my mother giving me this advice on raising three sons [forgive me if I offend you, but Mother was every bit a lady], “Sometimes, Mary, you just have to go outside and yell SH_T.” She was right. It helped a lot. 🙂

Everyone has a “song” in their heart. Whatever that unique life song is, sing it with gusto. There’s never going to be a sweeter sound than honesty — to yourself and to others around you. Who knows…maybe your song will be music to their ears.

Nana’s Nudge: Don’t suppress yourself to please others. You might go into hiding and you’ll never fully express the real you.
Nana’s Songs: Life Song |  I’ve Gotta Be Me | Sing Along | Sing A Song | Happy
Nana’s Prayer: Father, You’ve placed a unique song in each of us that is music to Your ears. Help us to sing it true and loud enough for the world around us to hear it. And Lord, help us to hear the joyful song You sing over us. (Zeph 3:17)