(A picture of my car after the accident).
It’s holiday time! You know what that means . . . tinsel and Christmas songs, ads for shiny things, and a lesson in forgiveness.
Wait–what? *cups ear* What was that last one again?
Forgiving people during the holidays is a great way to start the new year off fresh, with no grudges or bad feelings. It’s a gift to yourself as much as the person who offended you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget what happened, or that you continue letting the guilty party hurt you. It just means you make a deal with yourself, in your heart, to move on. It’s an opportunity to free up a ton of emotional energy and put it towards better uses.
Or just enjoy a wacky story, like the one below.
Forgive me, Lord, for I am a dumbass
(Note: this story is only funny because no one was hurt. I repeat, no people or houses were permanently harmed in the making if this anecdote).
Once upon a time, I was on my way to my part-time job at Barnes and Noble. I was also in college full-time. Needless to say, I was distracted and frazzled. I wish I could blame this state of mind on school or the job, but sadly, I think “distracted and frazzled” is just my personality.
I was pulling out of my building’s parking garage when I got out of the car to close the garage door (this was not one a’them new-fangled, fancy garage doors where you close it by remote control). I was so preoccupied, I forgot to put the car in park, or put on the emergency brake when I got up.
To make matters worse, the garage was on top of a hill leading to a residential area–and my car was in the direct path of the front door to someone’s house.
All too soon, I realized my mistake. The car started rolling downhill. Now get this: I chased the car—not to get back in it and apply the brakes, but simply to wave my hands. Like they were magic wands that could make the car stop. As if that wasn’t enough, I also yelled out “No, stop!” Like the car understood and would obey English, a la Knight Rider.
Well, if my car knew English as a second language, it ignored me that day, because it kept going down the hill and crashed into my neighbor’s brick front porch.
Forgiveness on the front porch
I should probably mention at this point that my neighbor spent a lot of time gardening in her front yard. Had she been out in the yard that day, there’s a good chance she would have been on her hands and knees with a spade or trowel, right in the path of the car.
And although I never asked her age, I think she was about sixty or sixty-five. I’m not sure how quickly she could have jumped out of the way of the car. So we were both the beneficiaries of some pure, dumb luck.
Anyway, the car couldn’t have been going more than two miles an hour. So it hit the front steps and knocked a few bricks loose. That was all. My neighbor was home at the time, and came out of her house. I ran across the street, breathless.
“Are you all right?” I gasped.
A pretty silly question, seeing as how my car had hit the house, not her. But I wasn’t thinking too clearly at the time, not that I ever am.
“Yes,” she said, staring in disbelief at the wreckage on her front lawn. “But . . . my house!”
My neighbor was kind enough not to call the cops, and I agreed to pay for any damage done out of my own pocket. She was actually pretty nice about the whole thing, which just made me feel worse.The bottom line is, she forgave me, even though what I did was stupid, stupid, stupid.
A lesson in forgiveness—and other stuff
I learned two important lessons that day. Okay, three:
1) I am a complete dumbass.
2) Even if I wasn’t, smart people can still do very, very dumb things
3) It’s nice to forgive the folks in #1 and #2 if they do aforesaid things.
I really have no excuse for driving into a house. Despite my occasional dumbassery, I’m a reasonably intelligent person. Not to brag, but I eventually graduated summa cum laude from the university where I was enrolled at the time of the accident. But perhaps that was only because they didn’t test for driving skills.
We all do stupid stuff sometimes. The lesson may be to forgive those who have wronged you without meaning to.
Or not. Maybe it’s a lesson about never gardening in your front yard because some idiot has had a license for five years and never bothered to learn how to drive.
Oh, and here’s Lesson #4: do not drive distracted. Ever. Even if you’re preoccupied, try to focus on what you are doing. Yeah, yeah, I know–do as I say, not as I did.
What stupid things have you done–or have other people done to you–that require a hefty dose of holiday forgiveness? Tell me in the comments!
(Top image by Joe Bain)