I was standing in my daughter's kitchen looking down at the most precious face of my granddaughter Lily Grace. At age six her beautiful smile has those gaping holes from losing her two front teeth and a few others. She was smiling and laughing and saying good-bye to me when her eye caught the small bisque like figurine on the counter. "Look Nana at what I bought at the Restore with my own three ( tongue through the hole in teeth) dollars!" She was so proud of herself and her treasure.
I, in my usual get on the go hurriedness said " oh that's wonderful Lily Grace" and immediately began to dig in the large black bag that eats everything I put into it especially my car keys. Digging around and having a hard time finding anything....yes, you know what is going to happen...I moved the purse without realizing how close to the figurine it was and down went her little ballerina crashing on the floor.
The look on her face is forever etched in my memory. Shock...pain...loss...disappointment. She stood there crushed and the knowledge that I had crushed her little heart broke mine. "Oh Lily Grace" I grabbed her..."I am so sorry", "I am so sorry"." Please forgive me" I cried..."I will buy you a new one". Here I was desperately trying to undo the terrible deed I carelessly had done and acting as if I could go find her another figurine like the one she so proudly purchased with her own three dollars. Hugging her I kept saying "I am so sorry".
And then the miracle happened. No not instant rewind photography like in the movies where the little ballerina suddenly flew backward to the counter and ended up in one piece right where it was originally. No not that kind of a miracle, another kind. Little six year old Lily Grace took my face in her hands and pulled me down to where my face was touching hers and as our noses touched she said "I FORGIVE YOU".
In that moment we were released into a freedom that saved us both. She wasn't captured by anger and bitterness over a careless Nana who broke her treasure and I wasn't left in the pit of regret and condemnation. We were both freed by her generous loving act of forgiveness ....BUT... the figurine was still broken.
I learned a hard lesson that day. We live in a world that has not only "random acts of kindness" but "random acts of carelessness" and worse. I need not elaborate as we have all experienced pain because of someone else's sin( let's call it what it is). Forgiveness does free us when it is given and received and in my case brought immediate reconciliation between Lily Grace and myself; but it did not fix everything as if nothing had ever happened. Her figurine was broken and she and I both have to live with that loss. But my hope does not lie with what I can do to repair something that has been broken for the truth is I cannot repair it...but there is one who can.
My daughter was standing there and watched the whole episode unfold, and the second that figurine hit the ground she was there gathering every fragment...down to the last tiny particle. She was not content to let one piece go missing, and I knew what she was intending to do without her saying a word.She is a loving mother and daughter and so she would go patiently to work with her magic crazy glue and begin the slow tedious process of putting it all back together. To me she symbolized the beauty and the work of Jesus Christ.
In the Anglican tradition there is a prayer that is prayed at the end of the Communion service.:
"Almighty God, before whose face the human generations pass away: We thank you that in you we are kept safe for ever, and that the broken fragments of our history are gathered up in the redeeming act of your dear Son,remembered in this holy sacrament of bread and wine. Help us to walk daily in the Communion of Saints, declaring our faith in the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body. Now send us out in the power of your Holy Spirit to live and work for your praise and glory. Amen."
Those who are "In Christ" are forgiven and even though we may have to live with brokenness in our lives we can rest assured that He is gathering up every broken fragment and in a mystery and miracle we cannot explain is making all things new( Rev.21:5). That is the hope of the Resurrection and that is worth pondering new everyday.