My son, Kir was upset about his lunch bag going missing at school and vowed to find out who took it and get even with them. We were riding in the car and I tried to explain that we never really know what other people are feeling, dealing with, and going through, that might cause them to do things that just don’t make sense according to us and our view of the world. However, I could see from his baffled expression in my rear view mirror that this was all a little too much for him so I just let it sit there for a while.
So after school he came home to these two brown paper lunch bags on the coffee table. “What can you tell me about these two bags just by looking I asked?” “They’re both the same,” he quickly replied. “Ok, pick them up, now are they both the same?” He figured out immediately there was something different about each of the bags but was still unsure about what it was. So I asked him to close his eyes and put his hand in each bag and describe the contents. He put his hand in the first bag. “This one is soft and silky.” That was the bag filled with flour. Then he put his hand in the next bag and winced. “Oh it’s hard and prickly.” That was the bag filled with the spikiest mulch I could find out back.
So the lunch bags are like people. It’s easy to assume that everyone is the same, similar to us, or at least coming to the game with a similar set of experiences to guide them, but that is just not always the case. We never know what’s really inside someone and what causes them to act the way they do toward us.
The truth is there is a mixture of flour and mulch in all of our lunch bags. I know I have hurt people in ways and topics that are outside of my area of focus or world view. I am trying to stop and recognize these myself and ask for forgiveness when it happens. One recent morning I was curt with the operator at the cab company. I was stressed about my son not making his train which in NO WAY justifies my being less than kind and grateful for her help. I felt like a real douchebag so I called back to apologize. When I did, she said “that’s ok Kristen, have a great day.” She knew it was me, she offered her forgiveness easily and wished me well. I was overwhelmed by her kindness and it reaffirmed my decision to ask for forgiveness.
Asking for forgiveness is the flip side of forgiving, you never really have just one or the other, we all have both a little flour and a little mulch in our lunch sacks.
Photo credit: super cute huh? I found it on etsy and have to give mad props to this guy, check out Ty’s shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LifetimeLeatherCo?ref=unav_listing-h