Wordless Wednesday

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Apology Doesn’t Always Equal Changed Behavior

“I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made….”

This lyric of the worship song, So Will I (100 Billion X) by Hillsong United, rang in my mind as I looked at a disgruntled employee in my office.

The manager stood over the young man’s chair, describing a serious event that had transpired a few minutes earlier. I was surprised by the situation but remained focused on the employee, searching him for explanation…as if his body language, his dark eyes and clearly agitated presence would reveal to me why he would have committed such an act at a professional office.

The young man expressed sincere remorse and I truly believed him. He was indeed sorry. I’m certain of it.

With certainty, I also knew that if I retained his employ, another instance of something bad would definitely ensue. Perhaps even more serious.

I thought of David and King Saul. After the second time David could have ended Saul’s life but didn’t, David confronted Saul… why did he continue to hunt David to destroy him? What had he done wrong? Saul expressed disgust in his own behavior, apologizing to David, “I’ve sinned! Oh, come back, my dear son, David! I won’t hurt you anymore.” (1 Sam 26:21 MSG)

King Saul had sincerely asked David to come back with him, but notice David “went on his way” (verse 25). Even palace living couldn’t entice David after all he experienced with Saul.

David likely believed Saul was sincere in the moment. He also knew Saul well enough to know, it was just a matter of time before another spear flew at his head.

In the world of work, it is easier to receive a sincere apology and yet, still follow established rules. Making hard decisions knowing there will be limited, if any, contact with the person adds a sprinkle of ease. Still hard, but not like seeing the initially remorseful person regularly, observing again and again the repentant heart offend, hurt and leave new scars in the wake of their path.

God is merciful. To have us consistently sinful humans come to Him with remorse, knowing we’ll fall again, He still accepts and loves us. From a human perspective, it’s much easier to cut the person out of your life. Thankfully, He’s not us.

Let’s be clear that I do not see His heart in “everything” such as disgusting spiders, truly evil humans, etc., but I could see good in the young man across from me. I had observed him for a couple of months and surmised there was something in his life causing confusion in his mind and cluttered thinking that led to irrational comments and eventually, the concerning event which transpired. But, he was also energetic, engaging and had mentioned on more than one occasion that he liked his job.

I pray the young man grows wiser. We all fall short. It’s how we move forward that continues to develop our character.

“And as You speak, a hundred billion failures disappear…”

(Hillsong United, So Will I)

A Fresh Start x2

January can feel bittersweet. It’s hard to say goodbye to the rich Christmas decorations, delicious indulgences we gave ourselves permission to enjoy, and the string of visitors that added even more liveliness to our homes.On the flip side is the clean 2020 calendar, decluttered house and blank pages of new notebooks. Who doesn’t love a fresh start and clean house?January brings a new beginning that I embrace.

The only other time I get a similar feeling is when the gray skies part in May and the last bit of black snow melts on the street curbs. The warmer air allows us to open windows and stay outdoors longer than a freezing hour in snow pants.

Who knew that this year, January would also bring 60° temperatures in the northeast?

Yesterday, I took advantage of the few rain-free hours of an exceptionally warm day. My husband and I went walking at the park and before I knew it, two out of our three kids showed up as well, their lacrosse equipment in tow.

My husband started tossing lacrosse balls on the turf and I continued walking laps, breathing deep, very grateful for the Spring air. The same newness of January 1st swept over me. How wonderful that just a few hours of warm air in a state usually frozen solid in January, lifted my heart and my mind. I felt ready to set a goal or two for the year which I hadn’t yet done. The fresh air gave me a sense of hope and overall well-being that tends to fade when for weeks at a time in NY, you may only catch occasional glimpses of sun and never leave home without boots on.

While I didn’t Spring clean when I arrived home, I did enjoy God’s gift of renewal. He used the great outdoors, warm air and my good people to give me a lift.

As hard rain pelted the windows in the later afternoon, a positive feeling about the year ahead remained. While each year of our lives brings some difficulty along with the joys, two fresh starts in the same month just felt generous and gives me great hope for the year ahead.

Happy 2020 and God bless your week!