NINE DOLLARS WAS MORE THAN I WAS WORTH

BUS, drawing

Forgiveness is an idea which people interpret in different ways. Some assume forgiving a person means condoning their actions. I used to be one who believed that. Now I know that forgiveness means writing off a debt. It doesn’t mean that whoever created that debt didn’t sin against somebody in doing what they did.

If I still held to my former position on forgiveness, I would still be burdened with what my Mom did on a blisteringly-hot August day in 1970. After visiting Edmonton’s Storyland Valley Zoo, as it was called then, Mom made Diane, Linda, and me walk through a wealthy neighbourhood called Rio Terrace. “Look at all these rich people’s houses,” Mom enthused. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in one of those.”

I didn’t care at all about those homes. All I wanted to do was get out of the heat. “Why can’t we take a bus downtown instead of walking?” I complained as the sun beat down on us. “I’m so hot and tired.”

“I want you to see these houses,” she explained. “Your friend Randy lives in one of those. His dad’s a lawyer, you know.”

I felt better once we were in the bus depot, out of the ninety-degree heat. For our supper, Mom bought us each a hot dog and a bottle of pop from the cafe. After she purchased our tickets, we waited next to the Greyhound bus for the driver to collect our tickets.

As I stood with the rest of the family, the Diesel fumes made me feel queasy. Dizziness suddenly came over me and I saw what looked like ashes floating around in front of my face. I staggered around, knocking over somebody’s suitcase as I fell to my knees. I heard cries of alarm from nearby passengers as Mom demanded to know what I thought I was doing.

Somebody from the security office helped me into a room and let me throw up in a waste bin. By the time I felt well enough to stand, our bus had left. Mom reluctantly hired a taxi to take the four of us to Fort Saskatchewan, about 20 miles away.

I went straight to our basement bedroom and lay down once we arrived home. As I rested, Mom stormed down the stairs and into our room. “You damn little shit,” she yelled. “Why the hell did you have to get sick for? You cost me nine dollars you know. Damn that makes me mad. You had to be so stupid and embarrass me in front of all those people too.” Then she stormed back upstairs.

Though I forgave my mother for being so hard on me when I was ill, the memory of her anger over the loss of nine dollars still hurts me but not so much as it used to. The same is true of others who unfairly condemned me. Read about how I was able to let go of past hurts in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.

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Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.

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