From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of Palm/Passion Sunday

Hi everyone,

So the other day I took our daughter and one of our sons to the pool (the other son wasn’t feeling well and also really really wanted to finish the video game that he’s been chipping away at for the past spring break), which isn’t all that unusual (the swimming part… aaaand I guess the video game part as well).

Anyway, we were in the pool for about an hour and all was fine. We moved to a slightly deeper part of the pool but still very easily reachable even by our below-average height daughter. We continued playing and I pretended to throw our daughter’s goggles away, but actually just dropped them behind my back. I turned around to get them and I couldn’t find them. I looked for a second and turned back and told our son to help me find them. As he went behind me to look, I heard our daughter coughing (also laughing) and turned to her to see her bobbing just a bit. This happens all the time and she is capable enough at swimming that I wasn’t too worried. I reached out to grab her… but not before one of the life guards jumped into the pool fully clothed to grab her and pick her up.

Mind you, I was roughly a meter away from our daughter. My arm was reaching out and the lifeguard actually pinned my arm between them as I was saying “I have her”. This didn’t stop the lifeguard from (in a very overzealous way) giving me the stare of death and berating me in “turning my back” on our daughter. I was so dumbfounded at this strange situation that I didn’t even have any words but “ok, thanks”.

I get it, she was doing her job and she probably thought she legitimately was saving a little girl’s life and that said girl’s dad was a typical deadbeat that didn’t pay enough attention to his kids. At least, that’s what it felt like as she condescendingly said that she hoped I learned my lesson.

Still, the whole situation really bothered me and the more and more I thought about it, the more bothered I became. I thought I was doing a good thing in taking the kids swimming (a past time that I don’t particularly enjoy, mind you) and I was with them the whole time (except for the couple minutes I had to go to the washroom at one point, but they were in the very knee-deep section at the time). Suddenly all this stuff happens, that didn’t seem that bad at all, and I’m labelled an outlaw. Or at least, I was made to feel like one.

There’s not much that can be done about it now though. All I can do is not let it bother me anymore, understand that she was doing what she thought was right, and learn to forgive. Not saying that she wronged me in some horrible way, but there was clearly a misunderstanding and assumption made about the situation. And in this case, the forgiveness is more about me letting it go and not letting it reside in my head any longer, and also reminding myself that I’m not perfect either in how I misunderstand and make assumptions. Who knows, maybe the life guard really did save my daughter’s life, in which case I probably should be grateful.

Easier said than done at this point, but hey, isn’t that what we’re called to do?

Here are the readings for next week:
Matthew 21:1-11 (Processional gospel)
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16

Philippians 2:5-11

Matthew 27:11-54
(alternate shorter version)

It’s hard for me to believe that we’re moving into Holy Week and the Easter season already. It just seems like yesterday that we were still in Lent. And throughout Lent we took a hard look at ourselves, our shortcomings, and the things we do that we probably think are right. The lessons that we learned weren’t about us being wrong per se, but maybe that those that we think are wrong, might not be as wrong as we’d like them to be.

Because often times it’s easier to stay angry at them when they’re wrong.

We like to be angry at those who hurt us. We like to be angry at those with whom we disagree. We like to be angry at those who killed Jesus.

But then I think about the point of this Passion story. I think about God’s ways of forgiveness and redemption, highlighted by the action on the cross. Then I think about how much I’m in need of said forgiveness just as much as the next person.

And I am humbled.

Note that I’m saying that the humility happens to me, not that I am humble by my own regard or will. But when we look upon the grace of the cross, the forgiveness of the resurrection, and the love in God’s welcome to us all in it all, then it’s hard not to be humbled, to see how undeserving we are, and how much we need this good news.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll learn to forgive others just as we’ve been forgiven. I know, easier said than done, but as a certain blog post once said (as recently as today, in fact), isn’t that what we’re called to do?

God help us all. Thanks be to God.

Photo by Lidia Nikole on Unsplash

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