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Post no. 119 (with humble and contrite hearts …)

August 15, 2013

My wife gave me this mug as a surprise. It came with a decorative teaspoon. Now this teaspoon was something else again. I hung it on the key holder for all the world to see … Julian (my older son) wanted to have a closer look, so he slips the ribbon off the hook and drops the teaspoon on the floor, returning it to its constituent atoms. I stood there looking at the fine white dust on the floor, closing and opening my mouth and flapping my arms like a singularly inarticulate guppy who can’t think of what to say. I was sure that when the words came they’d flow smoothly …

Julian’s face sagged. Tears welled in his eyes.

“Naughty!” (That was my first word)

How he bawled. 

I couldn’t continue. He was obviously heartbroken. He knew he’d done something he shouldn’t. I just had to call him for a quick hug and a milk shake – or was it a yoghurt? (You can’t give whiskey to five year-olds, you know)

Point of this story is that when you see someone who’s wronged you feel genuinely sorry for what he (or she) has done, you can’t be angry at them. It brought to mind the logic of God’s apparently contradictory intolerance to sin and infinite mercy. I was mightily annoyed at Julian for smashing my Guinness spoon to smithereens, but having seen how sincere his tears were I couldn’t not forgive him. I guess we’re all Julians in God’s eyes; nothing can’t be fixed with a genuine “Sorry” (I know, I know, the double negatives are atrocious. Sorry 😉 )

There’s another bit to this story. After the milkshake/yoghurt he caught sight of the mug and made a beeline for it. I nipped a potential cataclysm in the bud and held it for him while he examined it. To lift a phrase from Oscar Wilde, “To lose a teaspoon is a tragedy, but to lose both [a teaspoon and a mug] is sheer carelessness”



From → The Elephant

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