Tag Archives: forgiveness

The Forgiven Restaurant

There is a saying that goes something like this: You fool me once, shame on you; you fool me twice, shame on me. No one likes to be snookered. Those who have been burned once often make sure they can’t be burned again. Who can blame them? I was determined not to get burned twice – at a “terrible” restaurant.

I have been a vegetarian for more than 20 years. I can assure you, that unless you lived in some “pocket” of vegetarian population, there just weren’t many options for vegetarians 20 years ago in restaurants. Grilled cheese or Mac&Cheese are good fail safes for most, but since my body can’t process cheese (thanks to Crohn’s surgery), I had even less options than other vegetarians. The last thing I needed was to eat at a restaurant that insisted on penalizing me for getting my dish without the meat.

That’s exactly what happened one day at lunch with my coworkers. I asked for a salad without the meat. I’m willing to pay the full price still, I just don’t want the meat. The server told me I would have to pay an upcharge for the change. Seriously? You guys can use that meat for something else and I’m going to pay you to do that? I bit the bullet and ordered the salad so my friends and I didn’t have to find another restaurant on our already short lunch break. But the restaurant made it on my list of places never to return to service.

About a year ago, a “Get Healthy Marshall” program came to town. Many experts came talking about the health benefits of a simpler, plant based diet. The Mayor of Marshall, Texas, was all for it as he had seen his own health issues improve after adopting a more healthy lifestyle. Several restaurants in town went public with offering special menus to be in accordance with the new “plant strong” lifestyle. And it is very popular in Marshall, Texas!

Karl and I went for lunch today. To the “terrible” restaurant as they are now on the list of establishments offering a healthier fare. I went with full knowledge that a “better” restaurant down the street was available if this terrible restaurant still tried to penalize people for being vegetarians. The options were few. Other restaurants have a lot more plant strong offerings, but it was delicious! The atmosphere was perfect for our lunch and the service was spot on. When paying for our meal, I told the owner about giving her restaurant a second chance and being glad that I did.

When she heard my story, she admitted that whoever had insisted on charging me extra for leaving off the meat was probably someone without much food service experience and who didn’t work for her for very long. She was grateful that I had given her restaurant a second chance and thrilled that we enjoyed our experience there today.

I walked out of that restaurant having no desire to carry a grudge about what had happened in the past, and thankful for grace. I gave that restaurant grace and a second chance. But God had given me grace, extended forgiveness to me when I was unforgiving toward others that had harmed me. God reminded me that I’ve had my share of second chances.

Was there a risk that I would have gotten “burned” again? Of course. Life is full of risks. But God risked everything to extend grace to me. I’m glad He prompted me to extend grace to this restaurant. Besides the beauty of forgiveness, I tasted one of the best veggie sandwiches ever!

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Filed under Community, Health & Wellness, Healthy Lifestyle, Spirituality

X=3, Y=-7 and the New Orleans Saints

Everyone was waiting to hear what the referee would say as fans were cheering in the stands and folks at home were glued to their TV sets. Do you remember that play? Almost anyone you ask today, except for the obvious, will agree that it was a bad call. Most folks know that the New Orleans Saints won the super bowl due to a variety of bad calls, including the famous “Pass Interference” call that had folks holding their breath.

For me personally, I wouldn’t want a championship ring that in my heart I knew I hadn’t truly earned. But that’s just me.

Next, we have the big scandal of a head coach that gave players bonuses for intentionally hurting opponents. Many knew. Many kept their mouths shut. Hence began my hatred for the New Orleans Saints.

But I’ve realized recently that life intersects. If you were to plot my life on a grid, like we used to do in Algebra class, I would have given myself all kinds of positive numbers. Hatred for a football team? Who cares? It’s just a game. That doesn’t have anything to do with my faith, right?

So I took a deeper look and realized everything gets plotted on my grid. My hatred for people who had done wrong was still hatred. My ardent support of anyone who would kick the Saints’ butts was nothing but seeking revenge and making sure they got what they deserved. Really?

It’s just a game. But the attitude of hatred and demanding retribution aren’t the attitudes of a Christian. Did the team do wrong? Yes. But I’m not their judge. They’ve been fined and had penalties put on them. Yes, they still got away with the superbowl championship, but what matters is my heart.

Faith is my X axis and life in general is my Y axis – and they do intersect! It is all connected. I’m still not a big fan of the Saints. But instead of harboring hatred and demanding retribution, I’m going to choose to forgive and give them a chance to earn my respect again.

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Carried

Kind of funny, but I said I was going to work on getting through my anger at the doctors/surgeons of 25 years ago. Perhaps I should have stated it more realistically, I’m going to pray that God gives me victory over this struggle with all that has happened in the past and how it could have been different.

As my husband was reviewing a video clip he was going to use in his sermon yesterday, God revealed to me what had happened over the last 25 years. The video clip is about Team Hoyt. A father and his disabled (cerebral palsy) son who are triathletes. The father swims, pulling the son in a boat. He bikes, pushing his son in a special wheel chair attached to the front of the bike. He runs, pushing his son in a special wheel chair designed for running. Dick Hoyt (father) says Rick (son) is the winner, with all of the spirit. He just loans him his arms and legs.

Dick and his wife didn’t ask for a child with cerebral palsy, but that’s what they got. I didn’t ask for Crohn’s Disease, and I didn’t ask for doctors to fail me and not follow through. But just as I watched that video, seeing this retired military man sweat and fatigue through intense athleticism and then watching his son’s exuberant face as they reach the finish line, I realized what God had done for me. Those 25 years, God pulled me in a boat. He pushed me on the bicycle and he pushed me in the racing wheelchair. He knew I was at a disadvantage, so He carried me.

There are going to be more bumps in the road, so I’m going to trust that God again will carry me. He is able.

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Filed under Crohn's Disease, Spirituality

Victory

Romans 8:37 is my memory verse this week. Yes, because of Jesus, I am more than a conqueror!

So the battle with forgiving those who failed to properly diagnose me years ago, I can win, because Jesus made me more than a conqueror! Forgiving myself for past mistakes that have had lasting consequences (I know I’m not the only one) is possible, because Jesus made me more than a conqueror!

There are some who put up walls of defenses to keep people out. I don’t want to go that route. I’m going to go forward – and conquer!

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Release

What were you thinking? To any physicians and surgeons out there, I’m sorry, but please don’t take this personal. If I could go back 25+ years I would yell, scream, throw things around or do anything else I could to get the attention of those people, grab them by the ear if I had to. “What were you thinking?” What kind of a doctor takes 18 inches of colon out of a 14 year old girl then just leaves her to fend for herself? Did you not even think to check for Crohn’s Disease, Colitis or anything? Is it just a favorite past time of yours to yank out parts of a person’s body, leaving a lovely exploratory scar as a parting gift?

I’m working through the grief. After living with gastro issues for more than 25 years, I’m dealing with learning it was Crohn’s Disease all along and I’m grieving what could have been. If the doctors and surgeons had followed through, my life would be completely different. Then again, maybe they did me a favor. What did I accomplish (college degree, three kids, Who’s Who award, program director for a television network, published poet) that I might not have – had I seen myself with limitations? I had my whole life in front of me. You took out 18 inches of my colon and left me with no diagnosis, just to figure it out on my own. Was I better off that way?

Even if I could find those doctors and surgeons and was able to give them a piece of my mind, it wouldn’t give me peace of mind. In reality, there is nothing that can be done now to change anything. “I’m sorry, we didn’t know that much about bowel diseases at the time,” doesn’t work for me. They diagnosed my sister. Was I a bad girl that I didn’t deserve a fair shot at knowing what I would be struggling against the rest of my life?

I’m coming up on one year of getting my diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. I’ve had to learn a lot the past year. I’ve been through a lot with medications, lab tests (some cost $400 a shot), weekly blood draws to ensure proper medication dosage and learning about things to do and not do for Crohn’s Disease (sure would have been helpful 25 years ago). I’m grieving a part of my life that could have been lived differently, had I known. This week, I’m working on accepting what has happened, because obviously there is nothing that can change it, forgiving the people who failed me all of those years ago and moving on from where I am at now.

This is a journey of acceptance, forgiveness and release. God give me strength and thank You for walking with me.

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The Valley

I was reading today a passage from the book of Romans and how God leads us to repentance. It got me to thinking about the difference between repentance and condemnation. I think of it as a valley.

Imagine yourself walking through a valley. You feel all alone, but echoing off of the grassy slopes of the mountains surrounding you are the merciless cries, jeers, taunts, demands for retribution and proclaiming of all of your faults by angry and revengeful people. This is condemnation.

Imagine yourself walking through that same valley, but the voices are different. The accusations are the same, but they are spoken in pleading tones, as if the person just wants you to acknowledge your wrong so they can forgive you. All of your faults and failures are still there and still trouble you, but Jesus walks along beside you and says, I have forgiven you and if you stick with Me, we can make it right and make something good come out of it.

For me, I would much rather travel through the valley of repentance than the valley of condemnation.

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