A Father's Forgiveness

When I was a boy I always wanted to be a cowboy. I remember my Mom worrying about me getting sick from the heat in the summer, because I wore a thick blue sweater all the time. No respectable cowboy, however, would wear short sleeves so I sweated while I played.

I was overjoyed too when one day my parents gave me a bb gun. It looked just like a lever action rifle that all the cowboys used in the movies. I spent hours each day during those summer months shooting at stumps and pretending to be John Wayne. I even mastered the one-handed, swing, cock and shoot move I had seen him do in a movie once. At least that is what I thought. As I was coming into the house one afternoon, though, I tried it one time too many. The gun that I thought was empty let out a soft pop and a bb flew across the room and parted the hair of my Dad who was asleep on the couch. My Dad took one look at the bb hole a half inch above his head, walked over to me, took my gun, walked outside, and calmly broke it in half.

I didnít cry too much over this. I knew how close I had come to hurting my Dad with my stupidity. I didnít expect to ever get another bb gun either. That is why I was so surprised when my Dad bought me another one the next year. I guess he thought I had wised up enough to know how to use it this time. I never put a single bb in the new gun, but in my imagination John Wayne rode again.

I eventually outgrew my cowboy stage, but I never did outgrow my appreciation for my Fatherís forgiveness. He showed me that even when I messed up in the worse way I was still loved. He gave me another chance and let me know that I was forgiven whether I deserved it or not. He shared with me some of the unconditional love and forgiveness that our Father in Heaven has for us all. May we always embrace and share that love and forgiveness as well.

Joseph J. Mazzella joecool@wirefire.com

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