It's going to take me a minute to get to the forgiveness part of this post, because there's some background to go over first.
Let's start with this. See these two awesome women right here?
One is my mother, and the other is my sister.
And I adore them...
Along with all of these other women:
But first let's talk about those two women in that first picture.
Every year or so that wonderful mother of mine gathers all the women of our family together. We've met up for quick get-aways like a meal away from all the hoopla at Bear Lake or a trip to Park City (here) from Salt Lake. And we've met up in California (here) and had a pretty extraordinary trip to Europe a couple years ago (HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE...and a few more that I think are linked up to those posts).
And I think those get-togethers are pretty awesome.
I'm already thinking of the gatherings I'll get to have with my own girls some day down the road.
This year since that other wonderful woman in that top picture just moved to a farm in California (which I talked a little about back HERE, and which she explains much better HERE), we figured we better meet there to check out her new stomping grounds.
And they didn't disappoint. (and neither did that good sister Saydi's hospitality...man alive she can keep a lot of things happening and not slow down!)
That place is magical.
It was green and fertile as far as the eye could see.
My sis-in-law had to laugh because we arrived late at night, and in the morning when we were standing there checking things out, the kids burst out of the main house and started running at top speed toward us. We kind of figured they were excited to see us, I mean, we hadn't seen them for a while and we are their aunts after all.
But we had to laugh when they ran right past us with all the glee lighting up their faces you can imagine exclaiming, "we got new chickens!" and ran straight into the barn to check out their new pets...who can apparently lay green and blue eggs.
It was my sis-in-law Julie's birthday that day so we had a big farm breakfast...
And boy howdy all those cousins were eating up that farm life together.
After taking in the farm for a little while, we gathered up and headed out.
The MFME adventure was about to begin.
We loaded up bikes and headed to this gorgeous beach area to ride them.
...because if I could gain even a tiny part of who she is, I'd be pretty awesome.
And THEN the drama began.
We got back to my sis-in-law Krisit's sprinter, (the one with six kids), which we planned to use all weekend, and found it looking like this:
All weekend long people kept remembering things that were in there, now gone. Pictures not backed up on my mom's computer, phone charging cords (everyone was sharing just a couple so we didn't never had much juice), journals, things that were irreplaceable.
But do you know what? Despite all that craziness, these sisters of mine were level-headed and calm.
More than once we were reminded that it was just "things." Everyone was ok, and we were all so grateful for that. It was almost as if forgiveness for that awful thing just seeped and automatically changed hearts to gratitude.
And I loved that example of these wonderful sisters of mine.
“But how? How can you just get over these things, darling?...You've had so much strife but you're always happy. How do you do it?'
'I choose to...I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened, like my father did, or I can forgive and forget.'
'But it's not that easy.'
He smiled that Frank smile. 'Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things...I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No' - his voice became sober- 'we always have a choice. All of us.'" p.323”
― M.L. Stedman,
I'm just so grateful that no matter what happens, horrible things like in this book, or really frustrating things like those darn people taking all our stuff, we can forgive. And move on. And find light.
And that's what makes us happy in the long-run.
We went on to have a pretty grand weekend despite some other crazy things that happened (next post), but that day, cleaning out all that broken glass amidst police phone calls and loss realization, there was light. And I was so grateful for the example of forgiveness that brought that light in.