Absolution, in the Most Unlikely of Places

We were taking a long walk through the park, chatting like sisters do, about high school popularity – and the problem of the lack thereof. Except this particular pair of sisters is separated by about seventeen years in age.

It started with an innocuous question. My sister-in-law, who is in her first year of high school, asked me if I had noticed that the popular kids seem to offer the less popular ones opportunities to become more popular – but that usually one has to jump over some ridiculous hurdle to prove one’s worth. And that it can be the kids you’d think were least concerned with popularity who do so, while someone you thought might be the first to line up, who ends up surprising you.

And somehow, over the course of the conversation, I told a story about a friend I had, Helen. She was a very sweet and smart girl and I enjoyed her friendship…but she was definitely on the lower end of the popularity spectrum. One day, in an attempt to be helpful, I suggested we could have a little fun with hair and makeup and such. I had hoped to help her fit in a little better, in a way that was flattering for her face and figure. But that conversation didn’t go so well, and soon after, I lost her as a friend. In retrospect, I realized that she – better than me – had understood that I, in my teenage immaturity, had not valued her very well as her own person. And I felt endlessly guilty about that and sad that I had done so.

And my young sister-in-law told me it was a mark of how wholesome I was as a person that I felt badly about it; many others would do far worse, with malicious intent, and not feel a shred of guilt. And she said, wisely, that more may have happened to Helen where others had tricked, deceived, or bullied her, and perhaps part of the reason for her reaction had more to do with how others had treated her in the past than with what I was suggesting in the moment.

And in that conversation, I felt a burden of guilt ease off my shoulders: the release of a weight I hadn’t realized I carried. I don’t share this to curry more assurances, but to mention how startled I was to find what little packages of self-chastisement I carry, and for how many years I can carry it. There are things that stick with us, hidden in the nooks and crannies of our character. And sometimes all it takes is understanding, even from an unlikely source, to shed light on these things and set them free.

Do you have a packet of guilt you’ve been carrying with you for too long?

*     *     *

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.” 
- Author Unknown

What moments stole your breath away this week? 

Each Thursday, we come together to celebrate living life with intention by capturing a glimmer of the bigger picture through a simple moment. Have you found yourself in such a moment lately? Share it with us! 

Live. Capture. Share. Encourage.
This week we’re linking up HERE!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Related Posts with Thumbnails

10 thoughts on “Absolution, in the Most Unlikely of Places

  1. It's so strange, the things we hold onto without even realizing. I can still blush thinking about moments of awkwardness that embarrassed me when I was ten years old! I've only recently thought to give my child-self a little grace rather than holding on to the idea that I'm just hopelessly awkward and had better keep quiet. Those 'little packages of self chastisement' can be surprisingly heavy!

  2. I think guilt is definitely a process of releasing, and God brings it to our attention in His timing to work it into our life for learning and growing. This is a great bigger picture of grace that we need to afford ourselves. Thanks for being so honest! :-)

  3. I love that you have your SIL and she has you and that you two can bridge the gap that seems so gaping between high school and beyond. What a gift!

    But, yes, I have many guilts I carry from when I was young and naive and un-understanding.

    And you're right. Sometimes we just have to let them go. I've sought a lot of forgiveness for my offenses and all we can offer is apology in pure intentions.

    • Very true. And I've found the act of confession to be an important part of it too. Somehow, saying it aloud and offering yourself up for judgment, even if it's to someone wholly unconnected in the matter, is a powerful act of grace towards ourselves.

  4. yes, yes…there are {have been} hidden pieces of shame and morsels of guilt that expose themselves in the most uncanny ways. I find, more and more, that I never know what will bring them to the surface – and rejoice in each moment of release and self-forgiveness that finds it's way to me. It's funny, because I fell like I've worked on myself (and continue to) … dug deep spiritually, prayerfully, in therapy and over many years … sometimes that purposed work yields fruit in the form of absolution, but often it comes, as you've so beautifully illustrated, in the most unlikely places!

    • It's so true that sometimes it is the most unexpected things that shed light on hidden shame, and how we can really surprise ourselves with what burdens we carry.

  5. I don't know which is harder to let go~ the thing I did knowing it was wrong or the wrong I stumbled into without fully appreciating the impact as in your own story. I do know that I absolutely carry instances of each type of wrong that I perpetrated along the way. There are certainly those instances when it would have been easier for me to forgive had I been on the receiving end than having done it myself.

    What a wise young woman your sister.in.law is.

    • I don't know which is harder either. Both are difficult, but both are definitely powerful learning experiences. And yes, my sister-in-law is very wise indeed. :)

  6. Oh my…yes…I have carried around little packages of guilt…but God, in His grace, has helped peal back the layers of guilt, accept His forgiveness, and move forward to a life free from the guilt of the past. Don't get me wrong – I still struggle, but He is always there to remind me that He has already forgiven me – and, really, His forgiveness is ALL that matters.

  7. Letting go feels so good. I'm so glad that you were able to have that weight lifted.

    And yes, I have little burdens of guilt weighing me down. Some days I remember them and other days they are quite invisible.