Forgiveness Feels Like a Hug

Math Whiz
The days are growing longer. I feel them stretch out beneath me and winter yawns. When I drive to work in the mornings, light comes too; I drive into the sun’s slow rise. My crocuses have poked sleepy faces through their covers; the earth awakens in her bed. I feel the deep quiver, the thaw dripping into the belly of the inner core.
I have been thinking about forgiveness.
Forgiveness—the deep sigh of the soul, that letting go of bitter, the love that opens arms wide.
I’ve thought about it all week–ever since Bonnie said to—turned it around and around in my mind, twisted it, wrung out the tears and hung it up to dry. It’s been blowing in the breeze of my thoughts, whispering a collection of memories, asking the question.
Have I?
Those old particular aches blow by. I grow weary of remembering. Little girl lost, the smell of alcohol and cigarettes, the bad touching, the let down, afraid. So boring–the breaking of a family, betrayal, loss of the little bit that mattered lots. Butterscotch pudding and trees disappearing with friends and life went on and the neighbor kids in town broke into our house and ate all of our popsicles. There were wrapping papers all over the lawn. What it means to be loved came in the form of a deceiver and I relived all the same mistakes of my parents.
My son won second place in the county math field day competition tonight and I wonder how it would feel to him if I wasn’t there to see him smile his math whiz smile. But no…really I don’t– I don’t wonder, I know. But now I also know how it feels to be here—to see this piece of me with two legs and red hair grow into something so amazing. I know how it feels to love him so much my heart might burst. I know…I know what they missed.
I feel such compassion for that loss because…because it is so close to being everything. This love teaches me what it means to be loved.
Anger used to be the fuel that kept me going. They should have known better. They should have loved me more. They should have…
I should have.
I should not have.
It is raining tonight when I let the dogs out. I stand on the porch in my pajamas and wrap around myself. As I wrap me up in these flimsy arms I remember something my youngest said when he was only small.
Mommy, did you know that when you hug yourself, you are giving God a hug? He said. We were lying on his bed in the dark. Prayers said. Waiting for sleep to take hold.
I never really thought about it like that before, I said back.
It’s true, you know, because He’s always here.
I wrap my arms around myself in the dark. The rain is soaking through to my skin but I am breathless with the thought that within this body is something holy.
He’s always here.
Yet, I walk around on these feet, unaware most moments.
The Holy Spirit lives in me. This Person of the Trinity dwells within this flesh and blood.
Is there no greater mystery than this? 
I’m hugging myself tonight, that I might touch God. And I know that forgiveness will only be complete when I am able to forgive myself. I wrap my arms around Creator-God, and I am wrapped in the arms of heaven. I am forgiven. 
And so I forgive.
I’m jamming with Bonnie today–just a wee bit late, but that’s just me. Join us? 


  1. says

    I read this on a friends facebook page…..her Pastor said it I believe…..”Forgiveness is like the air in your lungs. You have to breathe out before you can take more air in…you must forgive in order to receive forgiveness.”
    So much freedom comes with forgiving and asking God to forgive me…I’m free to receive the Truth from Him….
    So thankful we know the One who breaks family cycles….

  2. says

    “So boring–the breaking of a family, betrayal, loss of the little bit that mattered lots.”

    Now, I know. Laura. I know why this connection has made it’s way from me to you. It was as if I heard my voice suddenly speak in unison with yours as I read that line and also this:

    “They should have known better. They should have loved me more. They should have…”

    “Mommy, did you know that when you hug yourself, you are giving God a hug?”

    Sorrow and sweetness swelled in my throat as I heard my own son’s voice speaking in unison with yours to me.

    And I felt, as I often do, lying on the bed, next to my son — I feel like I am that little girl that never grew up loved.

    “I am breathless with the thought that within this body is something holy.”

    My heart prays that I can really believe this to the point of no doubt. The way our Lord Jesus believes this about us.

    Thank you Laura. You are never late.

  3. says

    I love this. I love this – “the thought that within this body is something holy.” I’ve been reminding myself lately that my human body is just a home to my spirit and the Holy Spirit. I look for love and acceptance yet forget that it’s right here with me all the time. A beautiful reminder Laura. xo

  4. says

    Hmm, he looks like my husband as a child. I’m always looking for that child, wondering what he felt, what he saw, what was buried and still hasn’t been found.

    It’s such a strange thing and I don’t know why… that I found the alcoholism and arguments and depression and religion in my own family easier to forgive than those in his who discovered grace, promoted grace, taught grace, but were not present as brothers and sisters. I am guessing walls were built because of what they had been through. Their story was shared in groups like this as one of God’s grace. When they spoke of these things and of family, with great emotion, they were not looking at us, but over our heads. As if we weren’t part of that story. That’s a very strange feeling. What feels the most broken, for me, is the second not the first — because the beautiful vision was there to see and so very close.

    In the first family was ignorance and pain seeking a way out however it could. It did not know what to do or where to go. That I eventually worked my way through and forgave, and loved. In the second, I don’t know why or how something so beautiful could become ashes so quickly. The scars are the same for both, but faith suffered greater loss with the second. Forgiveness comes, but slowly. God’s people and grace, a family reborn, would fill the holes any other place, but not here.

    I am happy for you and the love, grace, peace in your life — glad for you. Thank you for sharing here. You’re in my reader, so I do see you everyday — offering hopes, prayers and hugs. Take care.

  5. says

    ‘I feel such compassion for that loss because…because it is so close to being everything. This love teaches me what it means to be loved.’

    all of this so moving…especially these words I quoted because they are His heart.

    You are moving from child to parent to know the love of Abba Father only to bring you back to child loved. embraced.

    You are so special, Laura, and I thank God upon my every remembrance of you:)

  6. says

    Wow, you have a very wise son! I am glad I stopped in here today and got a glimpe of your world (I hopped over from Cassandra’s page 🙂 Lori

  7. says

    Chills, friend. What a gift–that God has moved you from a little girl who should have been loved more, to the mom of a boy who knows when you hug yourself, you hug God. What amazing, transforming grace He has worked (is working) in your life.

  8. says

    sometimes i have to really think if i need to forgive or not… i think that some things just hide themselves somewhere in a hidden pocket in my brain until i go asking and looking.

    and of course…i like your son’s thoughts about the hug.

  9. says

    Oh the profound wisdom of a child!

    When you hug yourself, GOD is hugging you…because HE IS ALWAYS THERE!

    What a TOUGH story and BEAUTIFUL redemption all at the same time!

    Sending blessings to you and HUGS {with skin on} as you continue this journey of forgiveness and letting go!

  10. says

    Don’t you love those redheaded boys? (I know I do!)

    What a sweet notion from your boy — He’s always with you, so He gets hugged when you hug yourself. Love that!

    Our inability to forgive is such a big old messy human thing. Yet His forgiveness is so divine.

  11. says

    And when you write your heart, it’s like you’re giving us all a big hug!

    Yes, they should have loved you better. They missed a whole lot, but grace has intervened and allowed you these blossoming years for God’s great purposes.

    You’re doing an amazing job as a human being. Lots of love…


  12. says

    Great site, Laura. Great post.
    I have only just begun to blog, but i sense one more kindred spirit in you. You convey thoughts, feelings and emotions in a uniquely beautiful way. Thank you sooo much. Come visit gloryteller sometime. =)

  13. says

    Good story and good message. Without receiving forgiveness, we are lost. Without giving forgiveness, we are still lost. B/c it is so closely aligned with grace, forgiveness is like life-blood. Good post.

  14. says

    Precious post! You touched my heart in deep ways this morning. Thank you, sweet friend, for sharing your heart and your life. I learn so much from you!!!


  15. says

    You are like spring yourself Laura, growing and blooming with such grace. You have learned forgiveness and it has given you the ability to love so well. You encourage and bless dear one.

  16. says

    “. . . to see this piece of me with two legs and red hair grow into something so amazing.”

    This whole piece is so touching, but that phrase tugged at me. I will never see a piece of me grow. Yet within the ones that were knit not under my heart but in it, I see amazing people growing in my love, and I wonder what if–what if things had been different. Better. For them. For us.

    And I hug myself and feel God’s hug and know that this–this is as it should be.

    Love you, Laura.

  17. says

    What if I don’t want to forgive? Can I still really live?
    Or to I just strive for something I can’t obtain, oh this just hurts the brain.
    Another very good read though, I’m enjoying your writing even though we are getting more snow.
    It makes me cheer up when I hear news like that, for I am just a silly cat.
    So keep up the good work and I’ll be back to lurk.

  18. says

    so beautiful, Laura. so much redemption and making new here…so much of what makes us true disciples, this stretching a little further, digging a little deeper to see if we’ve really understood forgiveness or love or mercy.

    you are a blessing. thank you for writing.

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