Words of Hope: The Choice
Getting ready for the Celebration of Life was difficult and joyful. As our family gathered together to sing, we could feel the tensions and emotions rising. I became intense because I wanted the song to be sung in the CeCe Winans version. The girls wanted to sing the Bethel music version. I like to get my way. I like to be heavy-handed, which isn’t the best relational style – haha! My dad liked to get his way as well. It was important for us to create a relationship where we could listen and be adjusted. My grandfather could never be adjusted; it was his way or the highway. Dad came from a dictatorship and therefore granted his kids the opportunity to communicate their opinions with love and respect. Dad didn’t give us whatever we wanted – Jay and I learned to fight for our position. We had to earn our point of view through persuasion, passion, listening, respect, and compassion. It’s easy for me to descend into ad hominin when I get impassioned.
Getting ready to sing at the COL, I wanted to win! I wanted my way, and I didn’t want to compromise. My girls had to help me see that my dictatorial posture wasn’t bringing us closer to each other or the music. It’s amazing how narrow the mind can become when it only believes there is one answer, one way. It’s easy to get fighting mad when there seems like only one logical, righteous, or correct way. We finally asked forgiveness for being so demanding and failing to listen to the other ideas. Shann asked forgiveness, and the girls asked forgiveness, but I did not want to ask forgiveness. I felt recalcitrant and pouty, but as soon as I asked forgiveness, I felt joyful, light, buoyant, and open-minded to whatever the girls wanted to do. They sang, and it sounded beautiful. I am always shocked by how strong the feeling of being righteously cut off burns in me at times. It is so seductive. As soon as I ask forgiveness, the spell is broken and seems utterly foolish. When I am under the trance of my will to power, asking forgiveness seems loathsome. As soon as I take the step forward, as soon as the words—Will you forgive me? –are out of my mouth, I am healed. Forgiveness is truly divine because it helps set us free.
“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9