Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dear Hope

Today's prompt chosen from the Writer's Workshop:

3.) An open letter to Somebody You Used To Know (inspired by Thought Catalog)

 If you'd like to participate, visit Kat at her blog, Mama's Losin' It.

Dear Hope,

Hey, it's me, after all these years.  I just wanted you to know that I have thought of you often these many years.  I remember lots about you.  You were smart and funny.  You were always meticulous about everything you did.  I admired you because you were so handy with a needle and. Made. Your. Own. Clothes!  I mean, how awesome for a high school girl to be so talented!

You were so wholesome looking and gorgeous.  Long brownish-blonde hair, big blue eyes, tall and slender, you were the epitome of everything I would have liked to have been.  Well, you did have big feet  - just keepin' it real, but that is a teeny-tiny flaw, hardly worth mentioning.

I remember us spending the night at each others houses.  You are the one that taught me to put pepper in fresh squeezed orange juice!

I always liked to tell the story about you and your sisters and the time I was at your house.  Someone said, "Oh no, here comes the preacher," and all of you immediately ran to your rooms and changed out of shorts into dresses. It seemed so funny to me at the time, but now I realized you were raised to never offend someone if you could possibly help it.

I thought we'd always be friends.  But I messed it up.

I remember that day in the girls bathroom at school when you confessed to me something you had done that we believed was wrong.  And how did I react?  Sad to say, I spoke in anger and condemnation and self-righteousness. It was truly the cruelest thing I ever did.

So unlike Jesus.

Jesus didn't come to condemn.  He came to set free.  

He would have said, "Go and sin no more," but He wouldn't have made you feel worthless.

And so, our friendship ended.  It wasn't long until we finished high school.  I moved away and got married. I heard you got married and moved away, too. (I never heard your new last name.)

I began to see how badly I acted.  I regretted my actions.  I wanted to make things right. 

One day, my mom mentioned during a telephone conversation that she had seen your sister at the bank.  She had just recently started working there as a teller.  I asked mom to relay a message to you through your sister, "Tell Hope I'm sorry.  Ask her for her address so that I can write her."

Mom did so.  Then she noticed that whenever she went to the bank, your sister seemed to go to great lengths to avoid eye contact.  Finally, she did end up telling mom that you did not want me to have your address.

Okay, then.  The end.

Except it's not the end.  Unforgiveness now hurts you even more than it hurts me. I asked God to forgive me and I tried to ask you.  I truly hope that you decided to forgive me, even if I never know about it, because I would hate to think of your unforgiving spirit turning into bitterness, as it so often does.

I have learned a great lesson.  Being judgmental hurts me just as much as it hurts you.  I like to think I have changed.  Of course, I still believe certain things are wrong.  Reacting in anger and condemnation is just as wrong and does nothing to make a person see the error of their ways.  Reacting in love and asking how I can help is the better way. And praying for the person to connect with God, because God is the God of the impossible and He does all things well.

So, Hope, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope and pray you are having a beautiful life and that my actions no longer cause you pain.

I will always pray for you. And, just so you know, I named one of my daughters for you.  Her middle name is your name.


(Of course, I changed the name of my friend to "Hope" to protect her, but if she should ever come across this letter, she knows who she is.) 

I decided to share this painful glimpse of my past because after all, my blog is entitled, "Jerralea's Journey."  It's a journey of growth and maturing into the likeness of Christ.  I want everyone to know that we don't start out perfect.  We are all imperfect people trying to make our way out of the pit of sin that we are born into. I am blessed because I saw The Way out of that pit and I'm struggling with everything in me to walk that "narrow path."  I'm on a journey to meet the One who has done everything possible to redeem me.  The great part?  You can do it, too!


SouthMainMuse said...

We all have moments like that. Moments we all regret, decisions and actions we shouldn't have made or done. You are right about unforgiveness eating away at the one who refuses to forgive. I wish you both peace.

Gina said...

Forgiveness is such a hard thing. We ask for it and give it but not everyone does. We then have to forgive ourselves. I'm sad for her and happy you pray for her, at the same time.

Nikki said...

What a bittersweet, beautiful letter to a lost friend.

Aren't you glad God's not after our past, but our future? Pray "Hope" knows all about Him. . .

May said...

I hope that she somehow comes to see this letter. How freeing that would be for both of you.
In the meantime, I hope that in writing this letter you came closer to forgiving yourself. I am saying a prayer that God helps you let go.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post, I was hanging on every word. It is hard when we do things that hurt others but how wonderful that you reached out to her to make things right. Perhaps one day she will do the same. My prayers go out to both of you. God bless.