After writing my last piece about episode 8 of Oregairu season 2 and the topic of grace, I thought more and more on the connections between the characters’ actions and that topic. There was more to be said regarding what I wrote on, particularly in the words thrown between the volunteer club trio in the episode’s climax. But I also thought of something in a little different vein.
In the moment when Hikigaya tearfully confesses his desires, I think most of us viewers were expecting some sort of breakdown in return from Yukino. But what he gets instead is a confused Yukino who doesn’t comfort him, who doesn’t even want to accept him.
When I watched the scene, I wondered why it seemed to familiar to me. I realized that it was because I’ve been Hikigaya in this scene many times – and maybe you have as well.
Have you ever gone to someone to end a fight or otherwise reconcile a relationship? It takes courage, but moreso, it takes humility when you decide to apologize first. In a perfect world, taking that first step is worth it because you’ll receive an apology in return. But I’ve found that oftentimes with those closest to me, when I go to resolve the situation and apologize first, I don’t get an “I’m sorry” in return – sometimes what I get is more anger and blame.
It’s in those moments that I often fail. I become angry in return, and the gap between the two of us in the fight becomes even larger, because I gave something good that the other person didn’t deserve, and in return got something bad that I didn’t deserve. At least this is what I feel. And maybe Hikigaya felt the same as he hesitated to run after Yukino when she rushes out of the clubroom. It takes a short pep talk and Yui’s touch to help Hikigaya go after Yukino and offer his grace again, for a third time (the first being when he admits his wrong to an unforgiving Yukino).
Even though I place myself in the position of the forgiver, in reality, I’m often a lot more like Yukino. I continue to feel hurt and rail against whomever is in my way despite all sense. And God forgives me – He is the father who rushes to the prodigal son, embracing him before he can get a word in edgewise. And He offers us forgiveness again and again and again.
In that understanding of where we stand – how we are Yukino, people who is rejecting a beautiful gift that would repair our hearts and make us whole – we can be Hikigaya, who is able to forgive someone who has hurt him again and again. It takes that humility, and it takes faith knowing that grace is the answer to sin, grace is what drew us to him, and grace is what heals people.
And even if it doesn’t take the first time, grace still remains the answer. It’s the best response we can give – it’s just that sometimes, we need to give it two or three times over.