Tonight, I Learned A Very Timely Lesson

Today, the mail brought me a Christmas Card from a most unexpected place---a person toward whom I have been disrespectul, dismissive, arrogant, and discourteous.  I freely admit, right here, that my behavior, not just recently, but almost since the beginning of this medical affliction, has been a failure of my Christian Faith and morals, and of the courtesies that any human being owes to a fellow human being.

I an going to share here the text (with some redaction to preserve privacy and discretion) that I sent immediately upon receiving the card; or, rather, immediately after I offered a sincere plea and cry for forgiveness to my Lord and Savior, which happened immediately after I received the card.  

Here is the text:

I am amazed, astounded, grateful, and even ashamed (of my past behavior for four years, as of this month). As soon as your card arrived, but before I even opened it, I was immediately confronted by two facts that I cannot ignore: first---how courteous and exemplary your behavior is; and, second---how much I have to repent of in the past four years. And I can assure you, on my honor (whatever I might have left to me) as a Christian---just before sending this, I prayed (not with the Orthodox prayerbook, or any other written prayer, but my own words, however unworthy they are) for forgiveness for the foul way I have misbehaved toward you. That you would still look past that to send me a Christmas card, with that beautiful insert (which will now, with the card, be tucked into my Bible), is a kindness of which I am entirely and wholly undeserving. And here is the paradox: I have rarely felt my own sinfulness so intensely while at the same time feeling the great joy of hope that I can still amend this Thank you so much for what you have done with this tremendous gesture.
The insert spoke of a spiritual connection outside the religious realm. I abused my Faith by taking a self-righteous stance, although I have been too old, since 2019, to be messing around with that kind of silliness.
As I write this, I have had a feeling of a lightening of a burden, because I am now able to say these things to you in this statement of gratitude and request for forgiveness.
As you read this, any number of doubts may be popping into your mind. And I don't question that or object to it. Words are easy to put on a screen and then hit "send"; but it is more difficult to put them into practice and press a button marked "do this, do it well, and do it thoroughly." Only time will allow me to prove by my behavior the words I am writing now. Unfortunately, I cannot say how much time I have left, as my gout has allowed a deep-seated bone infection to set into the bones of my feet. I have just finished a course of two weeks of three different kinds of antibiotics twice a day, but only an MRI (which has yet to be scheduled) will determine if we have successfully eradicated it. I have had no chills and no fever, but the antigens, or whatever they are called, were detected in my blood a month ago, and X-rays disclosed the small burrow marks that the bacteria has hollowed out in the bones of my feet.
When next my family goes to a department store, they will be buying a plastic frame so that I can display your card's insert on the shelf next to my chair, on the same surface where my Bible and my Icons are kept; your insert carries that kind of importance to me.
This may seem overly verbose, because I am still overwhelmed by the arrival of the card, and I am so very, very grateful for your kindness.
Please forgive my past bad behavior; please accept my assurance of, and intention for, an amendment of future behavior.
Thank you for being a better friend to me than I have been to you; thank you for being a better human being than I have been,. Thank you for setting an example that deserves exact emulation.
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patriciajj's picture

I almost cried, perhaps the

I almost cried, perhaps the way I might have if I had watched the prodigal son parable play out in real life, your reply. It was that indescribable feeling of being deliriously inspired when you just know that charity, ultimately, wins out; that, every once in a while, things are as they should be. Thank you for sharing your priceless and soul-stirring expression.

S74rw4rd's picture

Thank you very much for

Thank you very much for understanding.  I let my resentments get the better of me sometimes; but, as I believe, this life is a preparation for the eternal life, and we have to decide, now, what to include and what to leave behind when we soar out of here.  I want to leave behind my failures, and this was a major one.