I’m at Multiply Goodness today. Talking about forgiveness. And skywriters. And Disney World. Believe it or not, they do come together.
I’m so pleased to still be part of Multiply Goodness. We relaunched the site in August, with a new vision for hospitality. (Read Emily’s wonderful post about The Hospitality Code.)
I love this joint effort with writers from other faiths to tell stories that inspire. Multiply Goodness is a place where we delve into shared truths, anchor ourselves in scripture, welcome all kinds of believers, and do our best to give where there is need locally and globally.
It’s been a morning. Oldest didn’t make it out the door in time for carpool because she wouldn’t get up. This effort of trying to be the parent she needs me to be – say less, do less, but be more – it is hard. I forgot that it’s family lunch day at school and packed five lunches that didn’t need to be packed. And I cannot stop thinking about a family so dear to us who lost their oldest daughter, my age, on Saturday. She was a brilliant mind gone to soon. And I am aching to throw my arms around her Mom and Dad, who were like parents to us when we lived in DC.
This life. It seems to get harder, the longer we live it. The hurts run deeper, the losses greater, the mistakes bigger. I don’t know how else to weather it but keep praying, keep reading words that live, and keep loving.
Update: Multiply Goodness content is no longer available, so my Message in the Sky piece is below.
Message in the Sky
“That ye may be able to comprehend…the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And know the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3: 18-19).
Enter Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. We are walking down Main Street, five children linked to each other in various handholds, when we look up and notice a small plane puffing smoky letters into a bluebird sky. Right above Cinderella’s Castle.
Three letters are already visible. J-E-S. Seconds later I realize the pilot is spelling a name I love. His name. Jesus. And that is enough for me. Just seeing his name fills me with reverence and thought.
But the pilot doesn’t stop there. The message continues, and crowds pause to watch.
Eventually we read the entire phrase: JESUS… 4…. GIVES.
About one minute later the words are spread so thin, they disappear.
I think about it off and on that day as we get off and on rides. Whose idea was it? And why? What happened in their life, or the world, to believe this truth so much they wanted it written across the sky.
Our vacation week went on. Visiting amusement parks, waiting in lines, heavy humidity, masses of people, lots of elbowing, and needling. People seemed generally edgy and impatient. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the crowds. One man barreled into my nine-year-old daughter with his stroller and barked at her, blaming her for the collision, forgetting who was the parent and who was the child. And suddenly I wanted to get in his face, put up my dukes, and remind him this was supposed to be the happiest place on earth! (Mama Bear in full gear.)
But we moved on. Tried to let it go.
That small interaction was nothing compared to the atrocities of the day, the month, and the year. The horrors others have suffered and continue to suffer in lands across the sea. The mistreatment and abuse in darkened corners of houses in every country. Where fear and anger live instead of love. And yet, this brief brush with inhumanity, left me, for a moment, feeling hardened and unkind. Even our children began to argue and fight with each other. And we had to remind them. Say sorry. Let it go. Forgive.
Sure, we can hang onto hurts. Coddle our anger, spill it out in complaints, criticism, and hate. But to what end? These feelings slowly poison us, and those around us. But when we forgive, our small world, the one we see from where we are, rights itself. And we feel, even in small waves of patience, that love that Jesus had.
Invitation: Live with charity today. As Paul said, do not be easily offended, give others the benefit of the doubt, cut them a break, try to understand. And if necessary, think of someone you could say these words to: “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you.” That small gesture can go a long ways. Like a love note across the sky.