I should have been enjoying the beautiful day, bobbing around in the pool in my sunhat. That’s what we do in the Alabama heat at the Pleasant Arbor Retirement Community. My sister, Betts, and I moved here to the Gulf Coast some years back, seeing as we’re both widows and our kids are scattered to the four corners of the earth. The beach is a good magnet for family to come visit, and we do so love to see our kids and
This brings me to the stomach ache that was ruining my day at the pool. About a year ago, my daughter-in-law and I had a falling out. Ever since then holidays make my insides do flip-flops. We avoided each other last Thanksgiving and Christmas—they had other plans anyway. They did send me a fancy Christmas card, but it was one of those impersonal things with their names embossed on it. I hate that.
Now my grandson’s graduation is coming up and I really want to be there. But just thinking about what happened last year grills my gills! How can I visit them, feeling like that?
Everybody here at the Retirement Community knows about my dilemma, but I’ve given up talking about it. It’s not hard to find a sympathetic ear, but unfortunately they’re all connected to sympathetic tongues. Folks are more than happy to tell you they have the same problems, only worse, and that’s about as much help as a sprinkler in a rainstorm.
In the midst of these thoughts, I heard music playing, but didn’t pay any mind until Lottie pointed out my cell phone was ringing. I just can’t get used to a phone that doesn’t sound like a phone.
I hauled myself out of the pool to hear Betts on the line asking me to find her sunglasses.
I rolled my eyes, but agreed to look. I didn’t see the sunglasses anywhere, so I decided to check in the Rec. Center.
Inside the craft club was busy as ants doing knitting, crocheting and what-all. The air conditioning about froze me and my teeth chattered when I asked after Betts’ sunglasses.
No one had seen them. “Is Betts having another senior moment?” Gladys asked conversationally.
Grumpy and cold, I muttered, “That girl’s been havin’ senior moments since she was 11 years old!”
Cynthia said, “Just want you to know I’ve been praying for you and your son’s family.”
“Thanks,” I muttered, trying not to sound annoyed that she brought up my dirty laundry in front of everyone. My stomach gave another twist.
I kept my eyes peeled all the way home with no luck. Imagine my disgust as I opened the door to our house and saw Betts standing there with the sunglasses right on her own head!
“Do you know how foolish you look?” I blurted out irritably.
Her eyes widened in mock surprise. “Because of these?” she reached up and took off her sunglasses.
I gaped at her. “You sent me on a wild goose chase on purpose?”
“Junie, hon., I wanted to show you how foolish you have been lately! You’ve been stewing over your problem for weeks when the answer is sitting right here”—she pointed at my noggin—“as plain as the sunglasses on my head.”
I just stared at her for a moment, wondering whether to be angry or amused. Sisters can do that to you sometimes. Finally I said, “You mean forgiveness, right?”
Real forgiveness isn’t easy, but as soon I said the word out loud, I suddenly I remembered how much Jesus had forgiven me. “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath” is something I had always taught my children, but now I was the one that needed to be reminded. Why did I always forget the most important things?
Betts let me keep her sunglasses. I’m taking them on my trip as a reminder. These may be my sunset years, but I’m not letting another sun set without practicing forgiveness, even in the little things. Oh, and my stomach feels a lot better, too.
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