Sometimes some of life’s most important lessons come to us in unexpected ways. Yesterday I picked up a free booklet and TV schedule in the local pharmacy. Thumbing through it, I found an inspirational saying about forgiveness that seems worthy of repeating. Here it is: When you forgive, you in no way change the past, but you sure do change the future. I think that makes a lot of sense. To me, forgiveness in no way means that what happened in the past was right or OK. Forgiveness does not mean that you forget what happened, either. Forgiveness just means that you are willing to let go of it and move on. You can release the anger, hurt or hatred that you may have been harboring in your heart and continue on without lugging all of the garbage of life along with you. Holding a grudge against someone and refusing to forgive them only hurts you in the long run… the person you refuse to forgive may not know or even care whether you have forgiven them or not! Forgiveness is for your own good, not theirs.
Tragic events this past week in the Amish community in Lancaster County, PA have shown us an incredible example of forgiveness. In high school, I had the opportunity to visit an Amish farm in Lancaster Co., PA most likely not far from the site of the unimaginable horror this week at that little country school. Maybe that visit is why I so admire the strength and compassion demonstrated by the Amish. That the Amish families and friends of those innocent girls who were killed could actually forgive the person who committed that horrific crime is the most powerful demonstration of forgiveness that I could imagine. Their forgiveness cannot change what happened, but it can release them from the bondage of hurt and hatred and let them get on with living.
OK…now forgive me for being so serious and somber! To leave you on a lighter note, here’s a picture of one of the many kittens that patrol our farmyard.