“Go to your room,” I said in a firm tone. A little too firm. The offending 7 year old sulked off.
Afterward my wife kindly pointed out I could’ve handled that with a little more gentleness.
She was right.
But here’s something wonderful: I didn’t beat myself up about it as I usually would. No cyclical self-analysis or inner slow-motion replay of my every motive, just a simple recognition of wrong.
This peaceful repentance came at the end of Sunday on which I had actually rested body and mind. And the rest bore fruit in an unexpected way: I sinned boldly. Boldly in the sense in which I think Martin Luther meant that oft abused quote. That is, I wasn’t bound up under the tyranny of trying not to sin. So I sinned, I recognized it, I turned from it. No gluttony of guilt necessary.
And when I went to my daughter in her room, asked forgiveness–without excusing my or her offense–she had some words of wisdom for me from a story she’d heard recently. “Daddy, when someone was mean to Saint Francis he was kind to them back.” Too true, small one. We hugged. God, the master recycler, had done it again. He wove sins the Enemy meant for evil into a teary eyed moment of grace.