From Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend's Soul

May Basket

Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note— torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.

Henry Ward Beecher

“Hey, do you know what? Today is May Day!” my sister announced. “Do you remember the May Day baskets we used to make with colored paper and paste?”

Childhood memories and warm feelings engulfed me as I recalled that my sisters and I would run around our neighborhood delivering the not-so-perfect baskets brimming with spring flowers. We would place the handmade treasures on a doorstep, knock on the door, then scurry away as fast as our legs could carry us. It was delightful to peer around a bush and watch our friends open their doors and pick up the colorful gift, wondering who had left it out for them.

I distinctly remember the May Day of the year that I was in fifth grade. That year I was faced with a challenge involving one of my dearest friends. She lived right across the road from our family, and we had walked together to school nearly every day since first grade.

Pam was a year older than I, and her interests were starting to change from the interests that we had shared together. A new family had recently moved into our small town, and Pam was spending more and more time at their house. I felt hurt and left out.

When my mother asked me if I was going to take a May Day basket to Pam’s house, I responded angrily, “Absolutely not!” My mom stopped what she was doing, knelt down and held me in her arms. She told me not to worry, that I would have many other friends throughout my lifetime.

“But Pam was my very best friend ever,” I cried.

Mom smoothed back my hair, wiped away my tears and told me that circumstances change and people change. She explained that one of the greatest things friends can do is to give each other a chance to grow, to change and to develop into all God wants each of them to be. And sometimes, she said, that would mean that friends would choose to spend time with other people.

She went on to say that I needed to forgive Pam for hurting me and that I could express that forgiveness by giving her a May Day basket.

It was a hard decision, but I decided to give Pam a basket. I made an extra special basket of flowers with lots of yellow because that was Pam’s favorite color. I asked my two sisters to help me deliver my basket of forgiveness. As we watched from our hiding place, Pam scooped up the flowers, pressed her face into them and said loudly enough for us to hear, “Thank you, Susie, I hoped you wouldn’t forget me!”

That day, I made a decision that changed my life: I decided to hold my friends tightly in my heart, but loosely in my expectations of them, allowing them space to grow and to change—with or without me.

Sue Dunigan

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