Forgiveness. One of Jesus Christ’s strongest and sweetest attributes. But for us regular people, it’s a tough one by anyone’s standards, especially when the wounds are deep and the love between you and the one you have wronged is deep and abiding. But one thing I know, when someone forgave me, it changed my whole perspective.

Michele and I in Las Vegas in July just before a Duran Duran concert. We were excited. Can you tell?

I was reminded that one cold winter day four years ago. I was sick in bed and had been for over a week. My family was trying their best to take good for of me, but it was taking a toll on all of us. My toddler was missing mommy and my teenagers needed a chauffeur. Plus, we needed dinner, dad was at church meetings and  my pneumonia wasn’t going anyway.  Then, a knock at the door. My tiny 5-year-old answered and I heard the voice of one of my dearest friends in the background. “Will you give this to your mom and tell her I love her? I know she doesn’t feel like talking to me, but I want her to have this.” The door closed and my daughter came in with a full care package – a load of treats and some yummy chicken soup with oyster crackers. But this was more than a care package from a concerned friend, it was chicken soup for my soul – the kind only forgiveness from a friend can provide.

My friendship with Michele began when we were only third grade. We hit it off immediately – both “four eyes” and pretty geeky by the world’s standards, but totally cool by ours. We were pretty much inseparable for the next 7 years. There were sleepovers, roller skating (lots and lots of rollerskating,) junior high crushes, dances, music (Duran Duran all the way,) all the good stuff of growing up. Then one day, things changed. I did something behind her back I shouldn’t have – a weak moment for me. Now I didn’t break the law or anything, but I did betray a trust, a pretty serious one, and then we weren’t friends. It was during my sophomore year of high school and it was bad, really bad. My other half, my best friend, was gone because of something I had done. But, in my naive mind, I justified it and started pushing blame to her and there you have it – the void in my life of a best friend. It took a couple of years before we slowly started speaking – but we were not on friendly terms. We both felt the sadness of missing each other, but we were both too stubborn to do anything about it. After all, I had justified the fact that I had done no wrong, so that was it for me. It took me a few years to see the wrong I had done and then more years to carry the guilt of it. Pride and guilt are unrelenting taskmasters.

Then came college. Michele and I both attended the college in our hometown and coincidentally, decided to rush the same sorority, because well, we pretty much had everything in common. I knew we needed to resolve this bitterness between us but I just didn’t know how. I prayed about it. I talked with my mom about it. I was a person to face things head on, but this just seemed so…hard. One night the rushes had a sleepover and somehow, Michele and I ended up next to each other. It was time. We talked. We hugged. We made up. But, we never really talked about the elephant in the room. College came and went. We had become close friends again, but I never felt like the air had been totally cleared, I don’t know why. Our relationship was good, fine, but I still felt the weight of it on my side. We both got married (to fraternity guys, of course) and truly loved each other.

This is how close our seats were!

We went our separate ways, saying we would keep in touch, but you know how that goes. There were occasional sorority get togethers, but we got busy with our families and life just happens. Then came Facebook. We somehow friended each other and started talking. I was at a place where I needed a good, close friend in my life. I needed her and as it turns out, she needed me. We decided to go to lunch and then kept going to lunch every month. Then we found out our most favorite band in the whole entire world was coming in concert to Salt Lake City – Duran Duran. Because she’s awesome, she secured us great seats and we had the time of our lives. It’s like we were 13 again – screaming, buying concert shirts, and dancing our buns off.  Less than a year later, we heard they were coming to Las Vegas. We got tickets and decided to take a road trip. Somehow by what I believe to be divine intervention, it ended up just being the two of us on a road trip. We had ample time to chat. We talked about the high school dilemma. The moment of truth. There was forgiveness. Forgiveness from her for my betrayal. In reality she had forgiven me probably 20 years before, but clearing it up and talking about it was so healing and so needed in my life. There were apologies. There was mutual understanding. There was love. The sweet kind of love that only true friendship can bring.

On a girl’s trip a couple of years ago.

That was 7 years ago. I have my best friend back. We always have each other’s backs and we know it. We check on each other. We love each other’s families. We laugh with each other, vent to each other, and bare all the stuff of life to each other. We build each other up.  I know that I get no judgement from her and she gets none from me. I think that when you go through the things that we’ve gone through there is a purity that exists in the friendship – a healing that takes away all the garbage that could possibly exist. And yes, we hit as many Duran Duran concerts as possible!

So that chicken soup she brought me when I was at death’s door? It meant so much more than hot soup on a cold night. It meant the sweet savor of forgiveness is alive and well. In John 6:37 it says:

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”

I don’t know how or what point Michele decided to forgive me, but I am thankful every day she did. Now, we are basking in the fun of making up for lost time.

Forgiveness is one of the best attributes of Jesus Christ, because it is healing and wonderful.

Here are a few ideas to use forgiveness in your own life suggested on Mormon.org.:

  • Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Write down all their positive qualities and imagine how God sees them.
  • Pray for strength to forgive someone who offended you.

For more thoughts on forgiveness, Mormon.org has some great information and tips on how to begin your journey.

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Rachel J. Trotter is a writer at Evalogue.Life, where we tell personal and family stories that inspire, and help you tell yours. She has worked as a writer since her college days over 20 years ago. She loves telling people’s stories. She lives in Ogden, Utah and is busy raising six children and loves working on family history alongside her husband, Mat.

 

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