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Setting Things Right

What I'm Reading Today: Leviticus 4-7

When I went through my coming out process, I found the first two months represented the hardest time for me. I felt extremely vulnerable and exposed. Because of that, I was quick to lash out at others.

One of the individuals who received the brunt of my angst was my mother. She was very slow to come around in terms of extending her acceptance. No matter what I said – no matter what resources I made available – she resisted my every effort. Occasionally in the midst of our arguments my frustrations would boil over and I would say something that I didn't fully mean.

Over a period of time, I realized the accumulated effect of my behavior on her, and I wanted to do something to make it up to her.

I spent several days looking for the perfect object that would express my sorrow. One day I found it. In order to understand my purchase, you need to know that my mother loves Teddy Bears. They are a symbol of warmth and love to her. Besides that, she says, they're cute. That day I stumbled upon a stained glass circle. Inside the circle was a picture of a Teddy Bear. It had a cap on its head, and the bear was playing with a ball. I bought it immediately. The bear represented the warmth and love I wanted to reclaim in our relationship while the cap and ball represented my desire for things to return to normal.

My gift worked wonders. It helped show my mother that I put my relationship with her before my desire to be right. To show her appreciation, she hung that bear in the kitchen window – just above the sink – where she sees it every time she washes dishes. I also get to see it every time I visit their home as well. Each time I see that silly bear I smile for it reminds me of the importance of taking the time to say I'm sorry.

Today's passage from Leviticus contains lots of instructions for how people were supposed to express their sorrow for the ways they damaged their relationships – with God and with others. Of course none of those ways were as warm and fuzzy as a Teddy Bear. Nevertheless they were important because they stopped people in their tracks and invited them to think about ways they could repair broken relationships.

All of this makes me wonder about you. What things do you do in your life to express your regret or sorrow when you break relationship with God or another? Those rituals or symbols can be very important instruments that help you get back on track.

Til next time …

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