Broken-down Poetry: Repent and be baptized


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Monday, March 8, 2010

Repent and be baptized

Over spring break I thought about what God's been teaching me. I immediately thought of forgiveness, how he's showing me that true forgiveness demands repentance. But then I remembered how I've been doubting basically every belief, and he's been teaching me the importance of faith. And then I thought about how everything is dying, and how I have to let it die, and be transformed ... redemption. And Grace? The hug? This should sound vaguely familiar: my blog series.

Ah yes, my blog series. Remember how I said that these four guys (forgiveness, faith, redemption and Grace) would be BFF? Well, they've been sticking together these past few months indeed.

This blog is about forgiveness.


This is what I know about forgiveness: you cannot truly ask for forgiveness unless you've repented. It's kind of the definition of forgiveness. It's insincere unless you mean you will never do that again.

A few blog posts ago I wrote about how I handled a rejection horribly, and how I began blaming him, my former crush, instead of taking a few big breaths and moving on.

This blog is about him.

Back story. Whenever I feel the need to get over a crush (when it's going no where or I am flat-out rejected), I react in two ways: I either never get over him or I demonize him. I decided to demonize this poor guy.

I wrote several angry pieces about him (blogs, essays, etc.). I got my posse of girlfriends to hate him too. It's all very teenagery of me, very "Mean Girls."

Anyway, I started feeling guilty - obviously - because that's no way to treat another child of God. So I sent him a text, invited him to coffee, and planned my apology. (When I say planned, I don't mean I wrote a script - I should've written a script. In hindsight, writing a script would have made this go smoother.)

Let's stop right there. Have you ever apologized to someone? I mean really apologized to them. I don't mean sending an email. I don't mean saying sorry for hitting their car or forgetting their birthday. I mean, sitting someone down, admitting a fault and begging for forgiveness.

Let me tell you: it's hard. I don't think I've ever done it before. Oh, I've needed to - several times - but I've never done it. Yesterday I realized why: it's messy. It's really, really messy.

I thought it'd be more like the movies. I'd say, "I'm sorry for treating you like crap, even though you may not have noticed it. Please forgive me." Then he'd give me a sad little smile and say, "Aw, of course I forgive you." Then we'd hug and part ways. Friends again!

Yeah, no. That doesn't really happen. He kept asking questions. It was more like this:

Me: I'm sorry for treating you like crap, even though you may not have noticed it.
Him: How have you treated me like crap?
Me: Uh, I've written ... things.
Him: What things?
Me: I dunno. Essays. I got my Prose class to hate you.
Him: Well, how? What'd your essay say?

Stop, stop, stop! Lots of awkward silences followed. He did, finally, forgive me. And we're friends again. But it wasn't as picture-perfect as I had hoped. And I didn't feel like sunshine and rainbows afterward either.

On the phone:

Jacque: How'd it go?
Me: Alright. I don't feel any better.
Jacque: Oh yeah?
Me: I was afraid this would happen.
Jacque: Are you glad you did it, though?
Me: Yeah ...

I am. It restored a relationship. But it sucked. And even now, twenty-four hours later, I still replay my silly responses in my head. But I think that's okay. I don't feel the urge to call him a dirty bastard! under my breath anymore. (Which is good because he's not a dirty bastard at all. Not even a little bit.)


Walking to my car before the aforementioned apology, I recited in my head my goals for the evening. I wasn't going to write a script, but I did have expectations for the night:

1. Apologize (i.e. not chicken out)
2. Reconcile our relationship

I recited that in my head as so: a-pah-lo-gize-n-re-con-cile (imagine it sing-songy). Then it turned into: a-pah-lo-gize-n-re-con-cile-ev-ery-one-of-you. Then it turned into Acts 2:38: "Repent and be baptized ev-ery-one-of-you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins."

Then I started thinking: What was it that I wanted to accomplish this evening? Wasn't it the same goal as Peter's? To repent (to ask this boy for forgiveness)? To be baptized (to give our friendship a rebirth)?

I think ... I think it's the same thing.

Maybe I wasn't sitting across from this boy. Maybe I was sitting across from Jesus.

Me: Jesus, I'm sorry for being so judgmental.
Jesus: How have you been judgmental?
Me: Uh, I've just thought things about people without knowing them.
Jesus: Like how? [stares at me with his pretty green eyes]
Me: [looks down at her arms, her tea, looks over to the other table, up at the ceiling]
Jesus: Well?
Me: Um. I've ... called people names in my head ... I've ... 
Jesus: What names?
Me: Um. Dirty bastards.
Jesus: Hmm.
Me: I'm sorry!
Jesus: [pause] So what now?
Me: I don't know.
Jesus: Laur-en.
Me: I want to be your friend again. I want you to be my Liberator.
Jesus: Okay then. We will be; I will be.
Me: I'll make it up to you ...
Jesus: It's okay, girl. We're cool.
Me: ... Good.
Jesus: [sad smile]
Me: [sad smile]


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