Years ago, I was offended by a man
in our ward during a meeting.
His tone, his words, his arrogance--
just smacked me
upside the head
and landed right in my heart.
His comment was so rude
that I looked to my Bishop for defense--
which he quickly offered
and gave a “look” to the guy, that said,
“Shut up. You're a Jerk with a capital “J”.”
At least, that's what I think he was thinking,
because that's exactly what I was thinking.
The meeting ended.
And I left with very hurt feelings.
Did he really think so little of me?
Did I say something to deserve his remark?
I reviewed the events of the meeting
over and over in my mind...
I told my husband about it
when I got home.
Since we were new in the ward,
we really had no idea who this guy was--
only his name.
My husband assured me I didn't deserve
and like a good husband,
made me feel better that day.
and I mean
for over a year,
I avoided that man.
My stomach would drop
if I happened to cross paths
with him in the halls
of the church building.
My circle of friends
did not include him or his wife--
whom I only knew by sight.
And even then, I always
averted my eyes when I saw her.
It was all very civilized
No need to say anything to anyone else.
I didn't speak ill of this man behind his back.
I kept my distance, and that was sufficient for me.
"I can do this."--
Or so I thought.
Girls Camp a couple of summers later
forced me to speak to him--
my daughter had a huge backpack
to hike into the campsite
for a few miles,
and this man--
carried her pack for her.
His act of charity
put me in a position of
being grateful to him.
Grateful—can you imagine?!
So the next time I saw him at Church,
I took a deep breath,
silently coached myself to breathe calmly
and walked up to him and said,
“My daughter said you helped her at Girls Camp
last week. I just wanted to thank you.”
He must've said something in response.
I don't know what he said
because I was freaking out in my head.
I just remember walking away with tears in my eyes.
That was tough.
But I did it. “Yea, for me!” I thought.
But that wasn't the end of it.
About a year later,
I was in the Temple.
As my husband and I were participating
in a service there,
I looked across from me,
and there he stood.
It was so awkward.
What was I going to do?
While I had not sought evil against this man,
I had not forgotten his offense against me.
attend the temple
with anything but love in their hearts.
And here I stood
in the same room,
ready to pray for others...
and someone whom I had
avoided for years
stood directly across from me.
Thoughts raced through my mind,
while old feelings surfaced in my heart...
how could it be
that he and I
were in the same session together?
I came up with two options:
I could walk out.
Yeah, just excuse myself
and without a word,
leave the room,
and go out and wait for my husband
in the lobby.
I could forgive that man
on the spot.
Let it go.
Give it up to the Savior
with full confidence that He
knew my heart
and how that man had been careless with it.
I decided I could do that.
Rather than miss out on special temple blessings,
I could forgive in that exact moment.
Fully, completely forgive.
And I did it.
Tears flowed down my cheeks
as the spirit welcomed my
of past pains.
I saw that counselor
as my brother--
who is also working out his own journey in life;
who is in the Temple,
in God's house.
I felt a holy peace come over me and reside in me
that when I see that man
or hear his name,
I am reminded of the goodness
and beauty of the Temple.
When I see him,
I just see another traveler on this road
“...first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” Matt 5:24.
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe has nothing on this Momza of Seven, mil to two, and recently crowned "Granma" to a Ninja-Baby who has stolen her heart with his toothless grin. Dawn is a Midwife Assistant/Doula, Home Stager, Writer, and Convert to the LDS faith--living the dream in the Colorado Rockies! She blogs at Momza's House.