I want to thank you for the reminder of the transformative power of love. I was so moved by this video and the story of those who radiated love out to those whose actions and beliefs had led to such a devastating effect on their lives and families. As I watched it, I was reminded of how my Bubby had taught me to pray for those who hurt me. That lesson first started when I was 13, at least that is when I first remember it. It was when I was gang raped by people I went to school with and had to sit in the same room as so I could finish my education. She had told me that I needed to pray for my own healing, but that I also needed to pray for forgiveness and healing for all those who had violated me.
She would always tell me that holding on to hate for them would only make me sick, angry, and bitter and that was not who you had created me to be. So she taught me to pray for them and for me until there was only love in my heart and I had forgiven them for what they had done. Maybe that is why I was at such piece decades later when one of them came to pay his condolences when I was home preparing for my father’s funeral. It was odd that he needed to come by after all those years to seek forgiveness. He somehow thought that he needed me to forgive him; the sad thing was that I had done that decades ago.
Learning and practicing forgiveness is all about intention. It means I have to let go of the hatred in my heart. I remember when I could not look at someone without getting sick and I asked you to help me become a more forgiving person. So you taught me about this in an unexpected way. You had one of the men I went to seminary with “sell” my car for drug money. I remember that time, as you so clearly guided my thoughts and actions during that time. When I heard how he was suffering, I found myself asking for a few things. One was that my car be returned safely. The other was that he be found and given the help for his addiction that he needed. The last was that your will would be done and he would know I had forgiven him for his actions.
I still don’t know if he could accept that from me, but the funny thing I learned from this was that in the process of forgiving this person, I had also forgiven the other.
Hatred only deepens the wounds, love heals them. Hate cannot forgive, love can. Hatred does not just the person we are hating, but it hurts us as well. Thank you for teaching me how to heal myself and set myself free from hate. Thank you for filling me with love, which makes no room for hate in my life.