Monday, October 16, 2006

Never Too Late

I heard a story a few months ago that both saddened and encouraged me. The mother of a friend of mine was dying. They had not been close in their adult years; too many angry words, too many unmnet expectations, and too much pain had created an empty gulf between them, and all that remained was regret. And now, time was growing short because her mother was dying. My friend didn't want to leave things the way they were, unspoken and unforgiven, but she didn't know how to fix the problem.

What is it about the certainty of death that brings clarity and purpose to life? When we can see that gulf looming on the horizon, we see that our relationships with other people are more important than financial portfolios, awards, publication credits, real estate, or any other material we've collected in life. We want to let go of the grudges, hurts, and angers that have complicated and paralzyed those relationships, but often we don't know how. How do we let go of the pride that prevents us from forgiving people for doing us wrong? Who should take the first steps toward forgiveness--the person dying or the one left here?--and how can those first steps be taken?

For my friend, an energetic and resourceful person who rarely needs more than a few seconds to make a decision, these questions practically answered themselves. She picked up her video camera and decided to ask her mother some questions. But there her mind went blank: she didn't know what kinds of questions to ask. Then she spotted a book that she'd recently bought for her young daughter. (It happened to be my first book, The Christian Girl's Guide to Your Mom.) Wondering if there were anything in the book she could grasp and use for her mother, she flipped through the pages and found several "interview" questions. These are conversation prompts that spark deeper communication between parent and child.

She knew this book was for tween girls and their moms, but empty of anything better, she gave it a try. So she turned on the camera and asked a question. Her mother answered. Then she asked another, and her mother answered, and soon this mother and daughter who had long ago stopped talking about the things that really mattered--their love for each other and their deep longing to heal the wounds that had paralyzed them for so many years--began a new, loving relationship while they still had time.

Is there someone in your life with whom you want to reconnect, but you don't know how? If pride is stopping you, push it aside and stretch your hand to that person. Chances are, that hand will soon be filled with another grateful one.

© 2006 by Marilyn C. Hilton

1 comment:

Camy Tang said...

WOW! That is so awesome, Marilyn! How wonderful to know how God used your book to help heal this relationship!