Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Forgiveness

Today I had the opportunity to meet someone that I could never imagine meeting.  Someone who taught me about forgiveness.  Oddly enough I had been praying to God to understand forgiveness.  It not that I've ever really had a difficult time forgiving people.  It's just not in my nature to hold a grudge.  In fact I can recall as a young girl wanting to hold a grudge because someone had either hurt or angered me... but in the end I could not.  But there was something that was like a very small pebble in my shoe. It rolled around and occasionally went under my foot and sometimes I wouldn't feel it but every now and then the pebble would annoy me. And that annoyance that came up and reminded me of the hurt that had happened to me was something I wanted truly forgive, the way that Jesus did.  So I started praying each and every time it came up, asking God to help me truly understand forgiveness.  I learned some small lessons along this forgiveness journey, and then I hit the jackpot that "cured" me of this struggle.

So fast forward to one of my "sick" days... that I wrote about in earlier posts... where all I could do was lay around in bed.  I turned on the TV to a PBS program and a man was on stage and introduced a lovely young woman from Africa who had a book she had written and they spoke about "forgiveness."  I don't remember much about that program but I did write the name of the book down and decided to get it.  It is listed on my blog as one of the books I recommend. The book, "Left to Tell," by Immaculee Ilibagiza.  I think I read the book in 2 nights, reading well into the wee hours of the next day.  The book is the story of a young girl with hopes and dreams of the future with an ideal family life and two parents who love her very much, and how that life she once new was changed to a nightmarish holocaust in the Rwanda Genocide.

In the book, I finally learned the lesson of true forgiveness.  There is much that Immaculee had to forgive though I dare say many would find it justified in our world if she did not forgive the horrors that happened to her family and friends.  This is a must read, and a must share.  Along with the many other books she has written.

This is the lesson that opened my eyes, we are all sinners.  Who am I to think I am greater than the most hardened offender.  Much is given much is expected.  Praise Jesus that I was never tempted to murder, and forgive me Jesus if I have not used the graces you have given me to instantly forgive offense committed against me.  There are those who need our love, need our prayers need us to forgive even the outcasts.

And so I go back to where I started, it is hard to express the emotion that I had meeting Immaculee.  I had worked myself up to a point of not being able to sleep the night before.  My sister Shiela suggested that due to the heavy traffic in the area around ODU campus, it would be best if we left extra early. Well we arrived and had a front parking spot as well which was ideal because my father who never complains could have used the closer spot.  He's been in a lot of pain lately.  When we walked into the building, we happened upon a reception for Immaculee.  This was an unexpected bonus.  We were served h'orderves and wine.  I can not express the joy that was in all our hearts this evening.  I happened to look over at a glass door and I noticed a lovely woman, smartly dressed in stylish gray tweed suit.  She had a gentle smile and a welcoming demeanor.  I had brought a couple of books with me and I walked over to her and asked if she would sign my books.  She graciously accepted and my sister was able to get a picture of us.  After the reception Immaculee gave a lecture about her experience in Rwanda.  The talk left the packed room breathless.  There was standing room only. Her talk was titled, "Left to Tell: A story of Peace, Hope and Forgiveness."




I hope you will read the book, it will change your life.

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