Freedom in Forgiveness
Wendy Newell Dyer of Jonesport, ME, USA
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous. Praise befits the upright. For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. -Psalm 33:1, 4-5
In September 2012, I was in Ellsworth, Maine, when I received a phone call telling me that my son Jason had been shot just outside Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The caller didn’t know if my son was dead or alive. He had been airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
I immediately cried out to God and asked that my son be spared. I had lost my husband to prostate cancer five years earlier. I didn’t know if I would survive another loss in my family. I continued praying during the twelve-hour trip to Nashville.
My son had a skull fracture from a blow to his head and had been shot three times in the back. He had a spinal cord injury that caused unbearable pain. Five days after the shooting, he had surgery to remove bone and bullet fragments and to stabilize his spine.
Over the next year, my son slowly recovered from his injuries. It was a long and painful journey, but eventually he was able to resume a normal and active life. I saw firsthand the intense suffering caused by gun violence. My son had physical wounds that needed to heal. I had mental and emotional wounds. I had to become reconciled to the fact that my son’s intense suffering had been caused by the hands of another human being.
It was difficult to forgive the man who had done this to my son. It took several years before I could let go of my anger and hostility toward him. I realized that by holding on to those feelings I was never going to fully heal. Forgiving the man who had almost killed my son was one of the hardest things I have ever done; but once I forgave, I felt whole again and was able to move forward with my life.
Forgiving him was a freeing experience for me.
“Be vulnerable to divine grace” (Doctrine and Covenants Section 163:10b).
This month, spend time each day noticing where divine grace is already pouring forth. Perhaps it is a simple awareness of creation’s systems and cycles that support our daily existence. The sun rises each day without being asked. There are underlying rhythms and relationships that hold the fabric of our lives together. Sometimes they fall into the background of our lives. We forget to see the natural generosity that spills over throughout our days-of the planet, the people we love, the Sacred Presence in all moments, the kindness of strangers we encounter, and the gifts we carry within. What is already being given in your life? What does it look like to be vulnerable to divine grace today?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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