Tiki Barber interviewed Larry Fitzgerald, the 25 year old wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. The interview was first aired in the pre-Superbowl coverage, and then again this morning on the Today Show. In a very personal interview Fitzgerald talks about his mom's battle with breast cancer. He and his mother were fighting shortly before she passed away and he missed the opportunity to say good-bye to her.
Despite the fact that Tiki Barber tried to turn around the mood of the conversation, Fitzgerald was steadfast in his belief that he would always regret his lack of forgiveness for his mom. He said that it hangs over him daily. He had a hard time imagining that his mom was looking down on him and feeling proud, even though his father, a sports writer, insists that he must get over the regret and think about all of the good times they had together as a family.
The story is a tear-jerker. I had a hard time watching it and at the same time couldn't seem to tear myself away from it. I understand the feeling. I didn't say good-bye to my dad even though I knew he was passing away - I just couldn't bring myself to forgive in time to make that trek to the hospital. It took a long time to get through that -- and for many years it did seem that all of my accomplishments, big and small, didn't add up to much because I had done this horrible thing as a confused teenager. I refused to forgive in a timely fashion and then deeply regretted my actions for a very long time. So how on Earth can there be any hope in this?
Forgiveness is a funny thing - you can't make yourself forgive and you can't make anyone else forgive you. Once you have it, really have it, it's yours for life (at least for the specific reason you wish to be forgiven). It's elusive - it doesn't come when called, it may take a few steps toward you as you stretch out your arms to reach for it, and then it can vanish into thin air. Though if you wait patiently and tend to the other parts of your life with care, concern, and gentleness, one day forgiveness shows up on your doorstep and invites itself inside, no questions asked.
The hardest thing we do in life is ask someone to forgive us for something we've done wrong. It's a humbling experience, and I will admit that it's one thing I'm not very good at. Larry Fitzgerald's story gave me hope that for others out there like him, feuding with loved ones, that they will be inspired to take that difficult step toward asking for forgiveness and forgiving others. I am certain that Larry's mother is very proud of him and has completely forgiven him for their arguments before her passing. What Larry needs to do now is forgive himself -- and by sharing his story, I think forgiveness will find him.