Sunday, October 21, 2007

Forgiveness Flour by Marguerite Stewart

Forgiveness Flour

When I went to the door, at the whisper of knocking,
I saw Simeon Gantner’s daughter, Kathleen, standing
There, in her shawl and her shame, sent to ask
“Forgiveness Flour” for her bread. “Forgiveness Flour,”
We call it in our corner. If one has erred, one
Is sent to ask for flour of his neighbors. If they loan it
To him, that means he can stay, but if they refuse, he had
Best take himself off. I looked at Kathleen . . .
What a jewel of a daughter, though not much like her
Father, more’s the pity. “I’ll give you flour,” I
Said, and went to measure it. Measuring was the rub.
If I gave too much, neighbors would think I made sin
Easy, but if I gave too little, they would label me
“Close.” While I stood measuring, Joel, my husband
Came in from the mill, a great bag of flour on his
Shoulder, and seeing her there, shrinking in the
Doorway, he tossed the bag at her feet. “Here, take
All of it.” And so she had flour enough for many loaves,
While I stood measuring.
--Marguerite Stewart

This is a poem suggested by Mom. It's from the Religious Educator magazine that a couple of people sited articles from on our email list last week. I think that she likes it so much, as I do, because the husband walking in the door could so easily be Daddy. Many many times in my life, I've seen Daddy offer Christlike forgiveness and service to people who, in any objective measure, didn't "deserve" it. They were in trouble because of their own stupid decisions, they had made the same mistakes before (and had him bail them out), and everybody knew they'd do it again.

As much as I was confused by this, I was also comforted. I knew that when I did something stupid, I could go to Daddy, and he'd help me make it all right and, if necessary, explain it to Mom. And when I really needed to forgive somebody for doing the unforgivable, I knew it could be done because I saw him do it over and over.

Everybody in the world has the opportunity to see these things in action as they and others are forgiven through the atonement of Jesus Christ. He doesn't hold back because we've made the same mistakes before, and will probably do them again. He even offers full forgiveness to even the vilest of sinners. Yet very few are privileged to see this happen consistently in their own homes. I am very blessed to know my Father in Heaven better because I've known my father here on earth.

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