I hadn't realized my unforgiveness toward him--my heart like barbed wire where fragments of resentment still clung.
I'd taken his eight-week writing class more than ten years ago. He was renowned. Published. Skilled. I hung on his words and learned tools from him that I use to this day. Near the end of the course, I hesitantly approached the professor to give him some of my work. I hoped my wet palms wouldn't smudge the print on the pages. My shaking hands made the paper rattle. "Thank you for taking time to teach the course," I said. "It was meaningful to me." He barely glanced at me, then looked down, opened his brief case and threw the pages inside. He pressed the locks on the satchel, and the double snap sounded the end of our conversation. "Later," he said.
That night I made a vow. "Never would I dismiss another writer artist in this manner. I would find a way to validate their courage to create."
This week, I perused social media. The man would be featured as a guest speaker in a local writing conference. When I saw his photo, I remembered that night. I resented that he'd brushed off my vulnerability, that he hadn't taken me seriously. I realized I had not forgiven him for that.
I could forgive him now, and actually thank him, in a way. His response to me helped me keep my promise not to disregard other writer artists who show me their work. I seek to provide honest feedback, remembering the strength it takes to reveal one's art. And, in part, I started my website as a place for creatives to draw encouragement and the will to go on. It takes intention to keep creating. It takes bravery not to quit.
I prayed for the man, surrendering my bitterness, watching the last bits of frayed darkness come loose from the barbed places of my heart and fly away. "Give him a double portion of success, God. Bless him. May he know that your desires toward him are more than the grains of sand on every shore. And I thank you, God, that your desires toward me are infinite as well. Thank you for your gentle rebuke, that you gazed into my heart, finding everything that is hidden within me."