Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I am a wonderful record-keeper.
It’s one of those traits that comes in handy, like being organized or detail-oriented. Records of all types: an extremely-un-kept-up list of books I’ve read and my ratings of them; a mental image of what I was wearing when (yes, I don’t know how this happens or why), and a sharp and vivid memory of most of the bad things that people have done to me. I remember everything. I remember almost every slight I’ve ever received.
That sounds like a good thing, maybe. You go, girl! Don’t let anyone walk all over you.
But I am not proud of it. My ability to list all the sideways looks, all the hinted-at slights, all the times someone canceled plans on me, is NOT a good thing. The people I love most are the ones who hurt from this “list” more than anyone – who’s around as much as my family? As much as my closest friends? And with so much time, we’re bound to hurt each other.
I’ve been noticing more, though, that I need to call it quits with this scale, with the constant weighing of mean tones, hurtful words, and apparent or definite thoughtlessness.
Because, I think, it’s a certain kind of person who keeps these records. And it’s not the kind of person I’m aspiring to be.
The kind of person who keeps these records is the one who hasn’t grasped the largeness of Christ’s sacrifice. It’s the kind of person who still clings to inadequacies, to the insecurities that hinder her from living more fully. Because she can’t see herself with the lens of forgiveness, she can’t extend that forgiveness to those around her. Instead of finding her freedom in Christ, she grasps at it by making others pay up. If she doesn’t stand up for herself, who will?
~ ~ ~
I go to work at 9:00 in the morning. I open the door and peer into the house, wondering who’s around. Usually all three kids are up, watching tv, waiting for me to come.
But this morning, I’m nervous. Yesterday was less than perfect. The little girl is five, and we usually have so much fun together, telling stories, singing, dancing, laughing.
Yesterday was different. She was in a crabby mood and I didn’t make it any better. I didn’t hold my temper, and I scolded her too harshly. Whining and whining and I left wondering how we would finish out the week.
So this morning, I peek my head around the corner. I see her lying on the brown couch, her eyes fixed on the tv.
“Good morning!” I say, trying to hide the tentativeness I feel.
What if she’s still angry? What if I hurt her feelings too much?
She turns her head to look at me. Her blue eyes are blank. But only for a moment, because then they light up, bright and excited.
“Catherine!” she says. “Good morning!”
And she jumps up off the couch and proceeds to tell me a half-true story about the neighbor kids and movie night and a crazy man.
That’s the kind of record I want to keep: a short one.