Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV)
At a recent family gathering, we shared memories of road trips from my sister’s and my childhood. There was the time that we took our hamster on vacation with us. We didn’t have air conditioning and it got so hot that the little guy kicked the bucket sometime in South Georgia. Another time, my dad decided we would drive at night because of the heat (must have been the summer AFTER the hamster died.) So, he worked all day, came home for dinner (fried shrimp, I remember it clearly though my mom says she would never have fried shrimp and then, left the house closed up for a week to let the smell ripen), and we hit the road for North Carolina and my grandparents’ house. Somewhere in the middle of Georgia, about midnight, my dad got too sleepy to drive any further. He pulled into the parking lot of a 4H camp and planned to sleep. My sister and I were in the back of the station wagon, my mom climbed in the back seat and my dad was going to stretch out as best as he could in the front seat. Except my mom was so nervous about being robbed that she woke my dad at every little noise. Finally, he decided it would be wiser just to keep driving. On another trip, I remember standing on a ferry looking down onto the packing shelf of our car to see our stuffed animals reclining there. That was the trip that my sister left her pink stuffed dog, “Poochie the Pooped Pup” in a hotel room and we had to drive all the way back to get him as she threatened to never sleep again without her Poochie dog. To this day, over fifty years later, my mom does a “Poochie Check” before she leaves a hotel room. One of my sister’s favorite memories is when we finally got a car with air conditioning, but it was not strong enough to cool the car all the way to the back seat. My dad the engineer took plastic and created tubes that extended the air vents to the back seat. My sister and I each had our own air conditioner. Until my sister, (she says it was me), decided to stick her foot in her plastic tube making the entire car smell like dirty sneakers. Another thing I remember is the “punch buggy” game. When you saw a Volkswagen, you got to punch the other person in the car, but if you called, “no punch backs,” they could not hit you back. I was thinking that in our world today, we should have a policy of “no punch backs.” When someone offends you or hurts your feelings, instead of getting even, what if we call a “no punch back” and chose to ignore the offense? How would it feel not to carry around that burden of a grudge all the time? No punch backs! Just let it go and forgive.