Forgiveness often means adding God to equation

Have you ever experienced events that you never dreamed you would experience?

I am thinking about over the last 10 years of my life. I have done some things I thought I would never do.

Here is the list:

• tried to water ski once again at my age when I have not water-skied in 40 years;

• touched a live rattlesnake;

• walked over and back the San Francisco bridge when I am afraid of heights, much less deep deep water;

• kayaked for the first time and then a strong wind came up on the lake and I had to be rescued;

• bought miniature donkeys for pets and LOVE them!;

• baited a fish hook with a live minnow;

• retired and still don’t feel old;

• hiked to the top of a mountain in Colorado;

• saw two Broadway shows on Broadway;

• sat in on the live taping of David Letterman’s show (a letdown);

• corresponded with a child in Columbia who is in need;

• gave away some antiques that I thought I would never part with;

• sat in Central Park in New York City with Charlie for a day and just talked to people;

• became a caregiver;

• made a Facebook page;

• earned a doctorate in education when I struggled in grade school, was placed in remedial math in junior high and didn’t even make the honor roll at Clovis High School;

• decided to quit coloring my hair and went totally gray:

• bought a Kindle and have read 186 books in the last two years;

• attended a Congressional Prayer Breakfast and stood in line with many famous lawmakers, preachers and national figures and no one knew us or had a clue why mother, Susie and I were there.

Now turn that around to another prospective and add God to the equation … I am thinking specifically about the act of forgiving. Have there been times in your life when you thought that forgiveness was not only impossible but totally underserved for the offender? You never dreamed you could forgive?

I’ve had those times. Here is the list:

• forgive that teacher in elementary school who made the classroom environment so stressful that you were scared to death of her;

• forgive that professor in college who once accused you of cheating on a political science test when you had nothing to do with the cheating that was going on all around you in the class and then forgive him for lowering your final grade from an “A” to a “C” just because of his suspicion;

• forgive those people (whoever they are!) who have written anonymous letters over the years criticizing you;

• forgive that neighbor who made your dogs bark and then turned and called the police on you for your barking dogs;

• forgive a neighbor who poisoned the trees on the west side of your yard that bordered on his yard;

• forgive those Christian church people who hurt your family so badly in your time of overwhelming grief;

• forgive that friend who told and spread an untruth about you years ago.

Most of all, forgive myself for the serious and sinful things I have done, even though I know God has forgiven me.

Once I thought I could never forgive — it was just too difficult and so unfair.

But once I opened my heart and added God to the equation, the path of forgiveness has been relieving, comforting and healing. It was not easy but the ropes that once held me in bitterness and frustration are broken.

With God in the equation, I know it is possible to forgive. If it can happen for me … I know it can happen for you.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at:

cbrandon@plateautel.net