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Firmness, Forgiveness, and Repeated Face Slaps

Can I catch a break, please?

It was 7:51 PM and my day consisted of sleeping through an important meeting and arriving late to my only class. By 7:52 PM, missing a flight I was 2 hours early for only made sense.

Sprinkle my carelessness over a week so hectic it left my hand covered in written reminders, and you have the recipe for a dish disastrous enough to make a perfectionist sick. I call it: Defeated Jenna with a side of Can I Do Anything Right? I like mine with a glass of I Think My Life Is Falling Apart.

I’ve never been repeatedly slapped in the face, but I imagine this is what it feels like.

Disbelief paralyzed me at the airport gate.Thinking of everyone to whom I owed apologies only overwhelmed me more. How could the group whose time I disrespected by missing our meeting, my professor whose lecture I interrupted, and my best friend who awaited me in Washington, DC forgive me?

A question I heard earlier this week interrupted my blank stare: can we be both forgiving and committed to justice…or must we choose one? Still immobile at the airport, I tried to answer it.

In this case, I’ll define forgiveness as accepting what already went wrong and justice as what we might expect to happen if we do everything 'right'. If I am a good person, follow through on commitments, and take care of myself, then it is reasonable to expect justice in the form of love, respect, and contentment. Forgiveness becomes relevant when these results go awry.

Yet, forgiveness felt inconceivable after my day of failures. I didn't come up with an answer.

Instead, I walked over to the American Airlines desk. After muttering that he called my name twice over the loudspeaker, the attendant showed me forgiveness by switching my ticket to the earliest Saturday flight--free of charge.

Instead, I called my best friend who patiently awaited me at Georgetown. She didn’t tell me how stupid I’d been, that I’d ruined her night, or that I might as well not come; rather, her forgiveness poured into a declaration of what a great story this would make and how excited she was to hug me promptly at 8:30 AM.

Instead, I FaceTimed my parents who forgave me by laughing and admitting that it was better not to arrive so late anyways. One friend drove me back to campus and listened as I processed, my roommate kept me company as I fell asleep, and my bed embraced one more night of having me home.

So, when it comes to forgiveness, I wonder if justice is what really matters. What would it be like if we replace commitment to truth (AKA justice) with commitment to effort, grace, and a good story? It is then that firmness and forgivingness coexist.

Sara and I during both the best and worst 24 hours of my life


Feb 21, 2023

What’s hard to pass is good to tell… this was so sweet ❤️


Hana Diaz
Hana Diaz
Feb 21, 2023

love it! :)

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