I read this book while we were on holidays with the kids. I have also read (when it first came out) the book written by Wilma Derksen, about her daughter's abduction and death, called HAVE YOU SEEN CANDACE. Both of these books are very moving. I can not imagine any of it actually. But Wilma sure gave us an insight into their life, their thoughts, their emotions, their souls during this terrible time.
I have had the privilege to hear Wilma speak a couple times. Once they shared in our Adult Sunday School class. Most lately, I went to a women's Christmas brunch, and Wilma shared about her most recent part of her journey - that being the trial, and the question that she knew someone would no doubt ask - Will you/Can you forgive.
Toward the end of Journey for Justice, Mike writes about when Wilma and Cliff do NOT read a "victim impact" statement at the trial, cut instead they invite who ever wants to come over, for a meal together and they will read their "victim impact statement" then, and also invite anyone else to speak. One person, Mike writes about, recalled a conversation that Cliff had with him. This is what it says in the book (Journey for Justice, page 314-315):
"Cliff shared with me these words of wisdom: 'When we suffer something hugely traumatic and unjust, the experience stays with us for our entire life. Forgiveness concerning that traumatic injustice becomes a lifelong process. We have to continually choose forgiveness over and over and over, as we move through the various stages of life, and continually re-examine our past experiences and our continually evolving perspective on those experiences. It's NOT a one-time for all-time deal. '"I don't think it is at all coincidence that I read this book when I did. While I do not relate the abduction story, there are aspects of his words on suffering something traumatic and unjust, that stays with us for a lifetime. AND the part about forgiveness concerning the injustice becoming a lifelong process ... oh yes.
I always "thought" I was a forgiving person. My personality is usually one of a peacemaker/peacekeeper. I have found that sometimes, it is ONLY GOD that brings peace to an experience. I have found that sometimes people are either oblivious to the effects of what their words/actions/non-actions (when there should have been some action) has caused. I have wrestled with God on forgiveness (especially when there is nothing like an apology or an "I'm sorry" given).
I have spoken the words "I forgive you" when they didn't ask for forgiveness.
And lately, during the past couple weeks, I have been reminded again how stress/hurt can cause physical manifestations in a person. It has been hard to rehash and even harder to see someone I love hurting. Let it go. That has been our mantra. Give it to God.
I know that at times some people may just think "get on with life for Pete's sake already" but then our closest friends say "we are here for you. we see that it hurts." They validate our pain. (still) They don't give "pat" answers. They hug. They listen. They weep with us. (STILL)
One day it won't hurt as much. It won't rear its ugly head as much. One day we will look at that as a chapter in our lives. It is our prayer that through this, that it will get easier. It is our prayer that God will do a work in US. It is our prayer that one day, we will see how HE has brought us on this journey called life. THIS is my prayer for me, for my husband, for my family.
IF you are thinking "man Joy, you keep bringing it up - " I can not guarantee this will be the last. I hope it will be, but I am not sure. But then again, this IS my blog, and a place where I can write my heart thoughts down. the GOOD. the BAD. and the UGLY. and the VERY REAL.
This is part of my journey ~ O Lord. Thank you for YOUR example of forgiveness for ME!! Help me to extend that grace to others. Amen.
(the picture was taken off of the internet, although I could not find out who drew it. Hope it was okay to copy and paste. I found it on feetinarmsout.wordpress.com)