I lit candles. I lit candles for the children we lost. I lit candles for the adults who gave the ultimate price to save those they could. I lit a candle for the mother who was not immune to her son’s wrath. And, I lit a candle for the man who felt he had to do such a heinous and senseless act of violence before turning that wrath on himself. I lit because it was about beginning to forgive.
It was not easy to light the candles for the innocent. The tears flowed effortlessly. I let them. I can’t imagine the horror they faced. I stopped when it was time to light the candle for the slayer of the innocent. I almost could not. But, I knew how important it was for myself to do so. I knew it was about beginning to forgive. And, yes, forgiveness is about yourself. It is not about others.
It would be easy to keep the anger. It would be easy to fester all the resentment toward this individual, toward the circumstances of the crime. It would be easy. But, the easy road is not the one that serves me or us at all. Forgiveness is to cease to feel the resentment against something.
I needed to be bigger than my anger and so, I took the hard road. I crumbled as I lit this last candle. It’s in the letting go of the anger, the resentment, the bitterness that forgiveness, compassion and love can grow.
That is why forgiveness is about YOU. And, after all is said and done, isn’t this what the world needs from you now more than ever is love and compassion?????
I never was a big forgiver as a child or young adult. It does not come naturally for me. So, like anything that does not come naturally, I have needed to learn and acquire the art and skill of forgiveness.
Here are three quick and easy steps to start the process of forgiving in your life. Beginning to forgive may be hard for you right now, begin with the easier things that need to be forgiven:
1. Identify the person you’re angry with. And don’t go for the big one first you can go to those people later. (I started learning this back when my first dog chewed everything in site!)
2. Honestly address your feelings. Talk to those who will listen. Not to those who will engage your anger but to those who will simply be there for you and listen. Journal your emotions. Put them down on paper…allow the tears to flow Create Art a song, a poem, a picture to depict your feelings.
3. Begin forgiving. Hold this person in your mind and ask yourself “What about him/her do I need to have compassion for” There’s a great meditation you can do whereby you look at this person when they are a young child or a baby and see how your compassion can help them. Reach (and sometimes this is so hard) for your compassion for that person’s limitations or blindness.
We have a right to be angry. We have a right to be bitter. But, we do not have a right to hold onto that resentment. By holding this love and compassion can not grow. In this holding of emotions, we serve no one well. And, beginning to Forgive is the start of releasing the anger and embracing the love.
Robbie Parker, the father of one of the children said it so eloquently when he said “do not let these events to turn into something that defines us but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble people. Let the sentiments of love and the compassion we feel for others stay with us at all times.”
So, to do so, we must all start with forgiveness. Small steps if need be. In this, love and compassion will flow. And, what better way than this to support families like the Parker Family and to do honor to the memories of the angels we lost.
Are you ready to forgive? How do you start that process for yourself?