Monday, July 21, 2008

A Different Boy -- Hope Chronicles 58

Forgiveness has been very much on my mind lately. About this time last year, it became clear I needed to ask forgiveness from several people for something fairly major that involved a good deal of trust. I do feel as if I have been forgiven by some. They have let me move on from it, chosen to trust me in spite of all that had transpired. But there are others who say they have forgiven me but always pull up short of placing their trust back in me.

But I need to confess that last week I flubbed up the forgiveness thing as well. I had a roommate for awhile. We lived together about 18 months. Very suddenly, she decided to move out. I was hurt in the way it all happened. She told me that we would still be friends because, "You (meaning me) are good with keeping up with people." I had to express my doubt because I knew from watching her with others that she rarely returned phone calls and emailed even less. It's hard to keep up a relationship from one side. Knowing this pattern, I didn't even try.

I was so hurt that I didn't think I could stand to be here during the actual moving out process. I asked her to put Katy (I didn't have Mali yet) in my room and shut the door. Katy is a relatively shy cat. While I doubted she would come out with all the noise and new people around, I did not want to risk her darting out the door.

I retreated to a friend's house for the evening. When I came home, they were still moving things out. I had thought that if they were still in the process, I might offer to help with the last of it. I went up to my room first. To my horror, my door was still open and Katy was nowhere to be found. My hurt turned to fury. I searched for Katy for 20 minutes before finding her way back behind a dresser. All the time, my anger built. I knew if I said anything to my roommate, I would say all the wrong things. So, I didn't even go down to the basement to wish her well or say, "Goodbye." I just went to bed.

No, that was not very good of me. The scare over Katy just really pushed me over the edge. My friend stopped coming to church all together. There have been no phone calls, no stopping by.

Recently, I found a Fed Ex package on my deck addressed to her. Sigh. Knowing I would more likely get a response by calling her at work, I dialed. It took a minute for it to sink in as to who I was. She thought I was asking to speak to her office mate named Amy. I explained and told her that a package was on the deck if she wanted to come get it.

God: "Why don't you ask her to have dinner?"

Ignoring that, I did manage to say, "So, how have you been?"

My ex roommate: "Not really so great. My aunt died and things aren't going well."

God: "Ask her for dinner."

Me to God: "Why?"

Me to my ex roommate: "I'm sorry to hear that. I hope everything else is going well."

Ex roommate: "Not really."

God: "Because I forgave you."

Me to my ex roommate: "Sorry to hear that. Anyway, the package will be on the deck."

Anyway, the package will be on the deck? No, I did not score high in the compassion part at that moment. Not even, "Maybe we could talk a bit when you come to get it."

Clearly, there is some forgiveness on my part that needs to happen. I have not let her move on from all of that.

It has all gotten me thinking about change.

The mark of a good book is that you cannot wait to see how things end up but become sad when you find yourself nearing the end! Perhaps it is even more true when there is a good series. As you may know, I've been reading the Chronicles of Narnia from beginning to end. There are seven. I felt my heart sink a bit to find that I am ready to begin the last book -- The Last Battle.

This means that I have recently finished The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair. We are introduced to Eustace in the Dawn Treader. He is a cousin of the children. When Edmund and Lucy get pulled back into Narnia, Eustace gets pulled in as well. You quickly discover that he is an absolutely beastly boy -- mean, arrogant, selfish. At one point, an enchantment turns him into a dragon.

To become "disenchanted" Aslan tells him to go into a pond. But before he can go in, Aslan tells him that he must undress. Eustace correctly determines that he must shed his skin. He does this, but as soon as he does, another dragon skin appears. Aslan says that he, Aslan, must help him. Though it is very painful Eustace lets Alsan sink his claws in and peel off every inch of the dragon skin.

At the end of the chapter, Lewis writes the following:

It would be nice and fairly true, to say that "from that time forth Eustace was a different boy." To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.

These great words can apply to our lives as Christians. We are beginning to be different as God strips us clean. But like Eustace, we may have relapses and days when we are tiresome. But God knows that is not that end of the story. Hopefully those around us "shall not notice," because they know the cure has begun and we are in the process of becoming.

Having experienced a lack of forgiveness as well as forgiveness, you might have expected me to act with more forgiveness rather than less. Sadly, I didn't. But the hope is in the fact that I recognize it. I plan to call her this week and see if we might have dinner sometime as God suggested to me. Hopefully, God can even use a slow obedience.

Just as Eustace was becoming a different boy. I am becoming a different woman.



Melissa said...


I still think you are sweet, amazing, and beautiful! I know it took great courage and a lot of guts to share this. Your honesty and openness to admit your own conviction is this relationship can't be easy, especially since it began as a wounded heart. I'm so inspired by you to not ignore and walk away from uncomfortable situations, even though that may seem easier. You are listening to God and that is beautiful:)

I recently had a VERY SIMILAR situation, only I was more like your friend. We are still working on our friendship and have both asked forgiveness. I am hopeful that the walls that were built that divided us, will come down with that.

Thanks for your writing today.


Joyful said...

Amy, I am so touched my this post! Thank you for sharing so openly. How often I have ignored God's prompting as well and afterward been so disappointed in my choices. God is a God of second chances, and it's beautiful to read of your surrender.

The quote from C.S.Lewis echoes my spiritual life. I'm sure God often thinks that there are days that I am tiresome, but I also pray He sees the longing of my often wayward heart.

I was on the receiving end of a similar friendship, and at first I didn't want to work at maintaining any contact. However, the Lord thought otherwise. So, unless He releases me, I continue to bless this gal, not with frustration any longer, but with His love.

Praying you will have a wonderful visit with this gal. Does she know the Lord? Maybe opportunity will be presented.