I have been doing a lot of reading on forgiveness. It seems like everywhere I go there is something about forgiveness (and trust me I am taking notice)! I have talked many MANY times about how forgiveness does NOT mean what someone did to you is okay. It simply means that you are no longer going to allow that person horrible acts affect your life. It means that you are making a conscious choice to no longer be a victim to that moment in time. Sounds simple enough but trust me when I tell you I do understand how hared it can be!
Recently I was working in my office and I had the TV on in the background. I decided to flip through the channels and see what else was on when I came across an incredible movie. It had already started so I missed the beginning. However, the movie was set in an Amish community. It seemed there had been a shooting. As I continued watching a horrific story unfolded. The short version…a man from the outside who was well know in the Amish community had shot several of the young Amish girls. Apparently he was angry at God for the death of his own baby girl. Then I watched as the Amish elders went to the home of the gunman to speak to his wife. They let her know that they had forgiven her husband for this horrific act. They went on to offer there support to her and let her know that they were there if she needed anything! Keep in mind this is the day of the shooting! As I continued watching (in shock) I noticed what looked like actual news reports. My curiosity took over and I did a quick google search. I was absolutely shocked to learn that this movie was based on an actual event!
The movie centered around the Amish mother of one of the girls who lost her life and the struggle she was having with forgiveness. I honestly don’t think I have ever cried so much while watching a movie. This movie hit home in such an incredibly powerful way! I have been working real hard on forgiveness and if I have to be completely honest there are still some people I was REALLY having a hard time forgiving. After watching this movie whatever anger or hurt I was holding onto seemed almost ridiculous compared to what this Amish mother had to overcome.
Now some of you maybe thinking…wow Lis are you having a bad day. So much for your uplifting and inspirational blog. The truth of the matter is I am having a great day. In fact I have been having great weeks and months and years! I just think that a lot of times we need a big old wake up call to slap us into reality! Everyday I listen to people whose lives have been destroyed and NOT by the person who did something to them but by the fact that they REFUSE to forgive and let go! I find it so sad and heartbreaking that people hold onto things for decades and truly never see how THEY are destroying themselves by holding on to the anger!
At some point in the movie the mother finds out that her brave daughter told the gunman that she forgave him right before he shot her. That moment changes her life and she is able to forgive. Towards the end of the movie they are at the cemetery burying the gunman. There are very few people there. A news reporter is commenting on how sad the attendance is as the gun mans wife and boys look over the coffin. Then off in the distance you see dozens of Amish women, men and children coming over the hill to attend the funeral and show support to the gun mans wife and children. I will tell you that I will never forget that scene! I wonder how many of us could do that?
I have mentioned many times how I despise social media. Of course if you have a business in this day and age you have to use it but honestly some days I just really want to shake people. The things people say and do to hurt each other. The lack of compassion, understanding and forgiveness. The constant judgement and everyone needing to be right all the time. I ask myself on a daily basis what the hell has happened to respecting each other. I ask myself why can’t we all just get along. As horrifically sad as the movie was it really did reinforce my belief that at the end of the day we are all capable of doing amazing things. It restored my belief that through forgiveness of others (and of ourselves) we can go on to change the world!
For those of you who are interested the movie was called Amish Grace. It was done in 2010. The incident itself happened in Oct 2006 at West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room school house in Pennsylvania.
Update…since I wrote this article on April 24th (it is now May 2nd) I cannot tell you how many more times forgiveness has come up around me. While meditating one morning I was told to put together a Forgiveness Kit. I have been working with it along with other things to help me let go and forgive. I have made the kits available for purchase.