Yesterday I watched an interview of David and Francine Wheeler on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. This couple has lost their 6 year old son, Ben, at the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings close to a year ago where 26 people were shot dead by a gunman, including 20 children. For a parent to experience the loss of a child in this horrific and ghastly manner can be the most tragic experience a human can suffer. On watching their interview, I realized what an inspiration this couple is. The entire world can learn from the poise, graciousness and strength in which they conduct themselves and live their lives.
On the morning that Ben was shot, he asked his mom what “forgiveness” means and she had never spoken to him about it before. I believe that it wasn’t a coincidence that this was one of their last conversations as he wanted to leave his parents with that message. This interview took me back to approximately 15 years ago. My mom had organized a picnic for children of an underprivileged school followed by a meal. Once we were done with everything, and were packing up to leave, my brother who was about 6-7 years old at that time, strayed to the middle of the small road that we were parked on and was hit by a car that was driving at full speed. It was a “hit and run” where the car owner didn’t bother to stop. My brother luckily was fine after a surgery and a few weeks of rest, but at that time, it was extremely scary and hurtful for all of us.
Although everyone insisted that we call the cops, my mom refused and decided not to hold any resentment. She decided to forgive. I am not sure if my mom did the right thing at that time, but we decided to support her wishes. She was one of the strongest and most spiritual people that I have ever known. Every morning during her prayers and meditation time, she forgave this person who so brutally ran over her beloved son.
Oprah’s interview with David and Francine got me thinking about forgiveness. Life throws all sorts of challenges to us, sometimes through situations and sometimes through other people. If we don’t forgive or let go, we end up holding a grudge. This grudge continues to grow as we continue to think of it. This in turn affects our mental well being and overtime can affect our physical health as well. Do we really want to waste our life with that negativity that affects our mind and body? Or instead do we choose to live freely and be an example for our children?
In the interview, David mentioned that he wants to live his life as a memorial to his son – that means living his life from the space of love and forgiveness as his son wouldn’t want him to live in any other way. My mom was that example of love and forgiveness to me and I hope someday I can exemplify these values for my daughter.
In conclusion I would like to share a quote by Louise Hay – “Forgiveness is a gift to myself, I forgive and I set myself free”.
What are your thoughts on forgiveness? Please do share them in the comments below.
P.S – Lets support the Sandy Hook Promise to encourage and support sensible solutions to prevent gun violence in our communities http://www2.sandyhookpromise.org/