the unforgiving minute

I recently read the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling with one of my classes.  Even though I taught this same poem last year, these lines caught my attention this year:

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run…”

Any time I read the word “unforgiveness,” I feel a small twinge in my heart, because I know it is one of my weaknesses.  I struggle with pride and stubbornness, two traits that make it very difficult for me to apologize and admit mistakes.

However, I realize that conflict creates a chasm between people that, if rectified, can bring them closer than they were before the divide.  I recently heard someone advise married couples to race their spouse to apologize anytime there is conflict.  I think this imagery perfectly coincides with the lines from Kipling’s poem.  What if, rather than sitting in that ominous silence after an argument and waiting for the other to speak first, we raced each other to be the first to humble ourselves and admit to wrong?

Tanner is the perfect example of this.  As soon as anything even slightly offensive escapes his lips (which happens only rarely), he immediately apologies and asks for forgiveness.   Ever since I recognized this humility in him when were dating, I was both convicted and inspired.

I aspire to continue to grow in humility so that in the unforgiving minute, I can learn to run the distance and close the chasm.