Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sharing Lemondade

Sharing Lemonade
-Marina Bromley

"Pain nourishes courage. You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." —Mary Tyler Moore 

When I read this quote, in honor of Mary Tyler Moore's recent passing, I firsthand agreed. Then, after I re-read it, realized that although I see the wisdom in this, if it were truly true I'd be so much more braver than I am! 

I'm a wimp when it comes to courage, I lack discipline in pushing through to achieve personal goals, and my "fight or flight" response is all "flight". I despise conflict, choosing rather to "agree to disagree" instead. 

So what happened?? 

I recognize the painful life events that have occurred in my past, and although they imprint a part of who I am, I have forgiven to the best I know how. I don't wish bad upon any of the people whose poor choices affected me. In fact, I try to advocate forgiveness in every life situation.

Have I forgiven so much that it has replaced the bravery it should have formed?

I've never thought of this before. 

I've lived in an attitude of forgiveness and would not see any purpose in NOT forgiving; the Gospel of Jesus demands it. But if I had not forgiven, would it have made me braver? Would bravery happened if I had sought revenge, or justice? Would bravery and determination (as a form of discipline) taken root if I had planned and schemed and outfitted my life to prove others wrong, that I could overcome despite the odds of this "bad stuff" that "happened to me"?

I don't know. I don't know if anyone could argue it better to prove me wrong. 

Would it be fruitful to un-forgive? To take wrath in hand like a scorned lover and damn them to hell for the heart-break and pain they caused in my life? 

No. I think not. 

To hold on to, or conjure up unforgiveness after all this time would be fruitless. It would not make me any more braver than I am. 

Perhaps my bravery doesn't allow me to conquer heights, or achieve great things, or remain disciplined in a diet and exercise plan, but the brevity I DO have allows me to show compassion towards those who have hurt me, to love beyond my circumstances, to sleep at night in peace knowing that the measure I forgave is the measure I will be forgiven. 

Perhaps that's the courage I live out. I'm brave enough to forgive because of the Gospel truth I choose to cling to—tucking it in around me at night, like a well-loved blanket. I wear forgiveness on my sleeve next to my heart to show proof of a life lived emotionally full and depleted, of mothers' love lost, of friendship betrayed, of selfishness taught and advocated and forgotten. It is witness to the things in life I couldn't control—but needed forgiving anyways, to things I could control—and I had to forgive myself, to things that no one but God could control—and I had to accept His wisdom. 

So perhaps to not be brave does not undervalue the hard things that have happened in life. Lack of bravery is not proof of a wonderful life, but rather having made peace with the past—seeing the benefit of whatever hardship made it not-wonderful and making the proverbial lemonade from it, even sharing it with others. 

But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 NLT

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 NLT

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 NLT

©2017 Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table. All rights reserved.

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