This is going to be my first non-writing-related posts in a while. It is also going to be my most personal post ever. Just a warning.
October 2, 2006. Charles Carl Robers IV took ten girls hostage at the West Nickle Mines School in the Old Order Amish community of Nickle Mines. Roberts shot each of those ten girls, all ages 6-13. Five of those ten girls died. Roberts then killed himself.
Imagine being the parent of one of the five girls that died. If you’re like most people, you would probably hate Roberts for what he did. You would be glad he killed himself, and hope he burns in Hell for eternity (or something similar).
The shooting garnered national acclaim in the US, not solely because of the tragic nature of the event, but because of the Amish response. After losing 5 young, innocent girls to the unprovoked and unwarranted attack, the Amish forgave him.
Instead of focusing on hate, bitterness, and redemption, the Amish chose to support one another. They aided those whose daughters died, and others whose daughters were injured. They aided the family of Charles Carl Robers IV that lost a son, a father, and a husband.
Everyone has heard of the phrase “forgive and forget.” Could you forget a man who shot your 10-year-old daughter for no reason? Could you forgive the woman who abandoned her newborn baby in the park? Could you forgive the countless people who abuse animals, starve them, beat them, and train them to fight?
I don’t know if I could. In time, I’m sure I could, at least on the surface. Yet if I were to meet the murderer of my child in the afterlife, I might not be able to restrain myself from punching him in the face.
I thought of this today after reading the Soulseeds blog post about the Power of Forgiveness. This article resonated greatly with me, as I had been struggling to forgive someone who was once very close to me.
I dated someone for nearly two years. The relationship started off well, as I imagine most relationships do, but somewhere down the line it took a turn for the worst. The emotional abuse was small at first. It wasn’t a big problem at the time. Our relationship was still new, so he would push it under the rug and I would accept it. I forgave him and we moved on.
Things continued to worsen. The contradictions piled on the hypocrisy that blanketed the lies. Once I’d finally had enough, I severed my ties and moved on. Those few days were fantastic for me. I was happier than I had been in months. I slept great, I laughed — out loud! It was bliss.
He used every medium at his disposal to contact me. Being too nice for my own good, I gave him a chance to speak his mind and make his peace. He picked the date and the time. He showed up at 9pm, half an hour late, and proceeded to keep me up until 1:30am talking about his car until I finally excused myself to go to bed.
The following week, he sent me another email asking for a second audience. I denied. I am happy with that decision, yet I’ve had a hard time forgiving him. After nearly two years together, he would hurt me and act like it was perfectly acceptable.
But you know what? I don’t care anymore. I’ve made my decision to live a happier life, and I’m enjoying it. Holding onto the bitterness of being treated so poorly will do nothing to aid me. In the end, I still know he has a good heart, despite the mistakes he has made.
So, Simon, though I know you’ve never read anything I’ve written, I’ll tell you and the rest of the world now: I forgive you for the mistakes you’ve made. I accept you for the imperfect person you are. May you prosper in all you undertake, may your family lead fulfilled lives, and may your God watch over your steps.
May I be at peace. May I be a lake of forgiveness. May I be truly happy.
May you, Simon, be at peace. May you be free from suffering. May you be free from pain. May you be happy.
May the world be at peace. May it be free from suffering. May it be free from pain. May it be happy.
May Mother Earth be at peace. May She be free from suffering. May She be free from pain. May She be happy.
May you, too, dear readers, be happy and at peace in your lives.
Ishana Theresa Mayakashi