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True Forgiveness


Forty-three years seems like a long time to remember the name 
of a mere acquaintance. I have duly forgotten the name of an 
old lady who was a customer on my paper route when I was a 
twelve-year-old boy in Marinette, Wisconsin back in 1954.

Yet it seems like just yesterday that she taught me a lesson in 
forgiveness that I can only hope to pass on to someone else someday.

On a mindless Saturday afternoon, a friend and I were throwing 
rocks onto the roof of the old lady's house from a secluded spot 
in her backyard. The object of our play was to observe how the 
rocks changed to missiles as they rolled to the roof's edge and 
shot out into the yard like comets falling from the sky.

I found myself a perfectly smooth rock and sent it for a ride. 
The stone was too smooth, however, so it slipped from my hand as 
I let it go and headed straight for a small window on the old lady's 
back porch. At the sound of fractured glass, we took off from the 
old lady's yard faster than any of our missiles flew off her roof.

I was too scared about getting caught that first night to be 
concerned about the old lady with the broken porch window. However, 
a few days later, when I was sure that I hadn't been discovered, I 
started to feel guilty for her misfortune. She still greeted me 
with a smile each day when I gave her the paper, but I was no longer 
able to act comfortable in her presence.

I made up my mind that I would save my paper delivery money, and in 
three weeks I had the seven dollars that I calculated would cover 
the cost of her window. I put the money in an envelope with a note 
explaining that I was sorry for breaking her window and hoped that 
the seven dollars would cover the cost for repairing it.

I waited until it was dark, snuck up to the old lady's house, and 
put the envelope of retribution through the letter slot in her door. 
My soul felt redeemed and I couldn't wait for the freedom of, once 
again, looking straight into the old lady's eyes.

The next day, I handed the old lady her paper and was able to return 
the warm smile that I was receiving from her. She thanked me for the 
paper and said, "Here, I have something for you." It was a bag of 
cookies. I thanked her and proceeded to eat the cookies as I 
continued my route.

After several cookies, I felt an envelope and pulled it out of the bag. 
When I opened the envelope, I was stunned. Inside was the seven dollars 
and a short note that said, "I'm proud of you."

Author Unknown


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