Nothing until she mentioned the knack I had for making a space.
I sat up a little straighter and took the courage to ask her what she meant.
She told me that the way I took a piece of fabric and saw what it could do for a window, really blew her away. She went on to point out my use of color, around my bedroom, in ways that she would have thought would look out of place, but really made the space great.
Up until that moment, I had always seen a room like a painter sees a blank canvas, and i had always worked with what I had, until i felt like that space of mine was perfect.
I still see this woman, though I am no longer really friends with her daughter, from time to time. We have an odd past complete with a pretty painful betrayal (hers) and several instances of pretty hurtful things. Despite that though, whenever I see her I do feel a twinge of gratitude.
She opened my eyes to something that I already loved about myself, but had never realized it was anything any different than anyone else had.
I had a gift, and she helped me embrace it.
Regardless of all the heart hurt, decades later, her words of good far outweigh the wicked.
A few years after that afternoon on my bed, I sat in an office with my two amazing older kids and their bio sister. The point of the meeting was establishing my interest in adopting them.
There were a lot of hurtful things said to those three kids, the worst of which being that someday i would adopt a child and they would realize that child deserved to be with me, unlike them.
When Gen came along, I feared their resentment over those long ago spoken words, but that resentment never came. They loved her instantly, and Genny felt they hung the moon and stars. (And she still does.)
Sometimes we say things, or do things, that hurt others. We aren’t perfect, we certainly aren’t flawless. The mere idea that words can never hurt us, (or that ours can never hurt someone else) is ridiculous…
BUT- there is grace and beauty at work in the world.
I doubt that woman from twenty years ago even remembers that conversation, but i do. In so many ways, it sort of changed my life.
I doubt those words hurled at my kids, those twelve years ago, are even remembered by their spewer. They were said, and they still hang there in the dark closets of their hurting hearts, as well as mine, but they are powerless anymore because we have a pretty fantastic little family and thankfully, my kids have grasped the reality that I would do anything in my power for them because I love them more than my very own life.
I guess my point is that we aren’t limited to the bad or the ugly moments when we have said or done something stupid. Our good still touches others, or in the latter case, can drive people straight to beauty despite our words. More importantly though, without forgiveness none of the good would have been possible.