I just returned home from the mid-week Lenten gathering. It was a wonderful evening filled with song, fellowship, sharing, reflection and soup. I will admit anytime soup is involved, I am “all in,” but the evening’s main topic of forgiveness was just as gratifying.

On the drive home, my mind wandered back over the past week or so. I had attended a memorial service for the 17-year-old son of former neighbors. Sadly, he took his own life. While delivering food to the family’s home the previous day, I struggled to compose myself after the grieving mother shared her feelings of guilt, confusion and anger.

Less than a week later, I was celebrating at the courthouse wedding of my daughter’s close friend. After the ceremony, as our festive group of 20 moved out into the hallway to offer congratulations and take pictures, my attention moved to the next scheduled group to go before the judge. The soon to be married couple happened to be the same sex, joined only by two others. Their group was in sharp contrast to our raucous, numerous attendees. I returned to the small chamber room to retrieve the coats for the bride’s mother and grandma and offered my apologies to the group of four for barging back in. Someone said they wished our “fun group” could stay for their ceremony, and someone else said they wished their own mother and grandma were with them that important day. I suddenly was overwhelmed with the desire to celebrate with this couple that were strangers to me, and had I not been responsible for transporting a carload of revelers to the luncheon reception, might have asked to stay and witness their special day. Instead, I offered sincere congratulations and hugged all four members of their group. I was old enough to be the mother of any of them, and couldn’t imagine being absent from my child’s wedding ceremony.

The potential for all kinds of forgiveness is apparent in these situations, these life-changing events. I will be praying for all of the families and individuals involved, for a very long time.

The question was asked tonight…..Is it easier for you to forgive others, or to ask for forgiveness yourself? That is something to think about for sure. Another point that was brought up-how often do we follow “I’m sorry” with, “will you forgive me?” Does it matter?

Thank you Kathryn and Mary for sharing your hearts tonight. Lent, a season for reflection and soup. I can’t wait for next Wednesday night, please consider joining in the sure-to-be a good evening.

Andrea Heshmati

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