A lot of the hurt and difficulty sprung from assumptions made by each of us that led to unloving or unkind actions and reactions. It can be difficult in relationships for these cycles to be broken, can it not? Our case was exacerbated, too, by living far away. So when we were physically in the same place, emotions were naturally high, because there was this sense that the time needed to be used well. I think, (Gladys, you can correct me if I'm wrong for your part), that often those visits really wore us out and sometimes made things worse.
I'm really bad at emotional conversations. Really bad. So it took Gladys reaching out to me and asking forgiveness for things to get the ball rolling toward something better in our relationship and to soften my heart. Even today she shared something with me, about a situation that I'd forgotten, that she needed to share and get out there in the open. I learned that we're probably more alike than I ever thought, in our insecurity and self-doubt.
I still stink at emotional conversations and at asking forgiveness; ask my husband. I mumble my apologies a little louder than I used to, don't I, Colin? But Gladys has been an excellent example to me (even if I'm still scared to follow it!) of what it means to just be honest and work things out, because the Gospel is true, freeing us to do so, and because relationships are worth it.
So today - as uncomfortable as I get with "feelings" conversations or chats that involve remembering how horrible I was in the past - I was interrupted by the grace as I processed our conversation, realizing how good God is to extend reconciliation not only to Himself, but providing reconciliation among brothers, or sisters, as the case may be. Our poor choices and unwillingness to love in the past do not have to determine our choices and willingness in the present. In Christ we can forgive and grow together, leaving the past in the past and moving on to a stronger future.
I think that's amazing. And I hope I can be as bold and free in my faith as Gladys has shown me I can. I'm just so darn proud most of the time.
Have a good evening!