Monday, May 5, 2014


Happy Monday!
Forgiveness can be one of the most difficult things for many of us to do.  So much of the literature and research on happiness and optimism speaks to the importance of forgiveness.  To forgive others is not as much about the other person as it is you.  Your health and well-being is affected by your ability to forgive others.  This is a concept that is not new.  It is something we have all heard throughout our lives from family and religion - however how many of us can truly say they forgive easily?  I know that despite all the information and experiences I have had in my life and working with others that show me how powerful forgiveness can be - I find it challenging.
I bring up this topic today because of the recent news coverage of two women.  Rachel Chapman and Michelle Night. 
Over the weekend I saw a follow up story of Rachel.  She was accidentally pushed into a pool at her bachelorette party by one of her friends.  She was paralyzed from a fracture in her neck just three weeks prior to her wedding.  At the time this happened I remember seeing stories about her and her resilience and her relationship with her now husband.  So moving and inspiring.  What struck me this weekend was her book, "The Promise"  which I am very much looking forward to reading.  She spoke to reporters about how important her friends are to her and how she and her friends have promised to never reveal who pushed her.  It was an accident and she loves her and forgives her completely.  I thought as I watched her story that yes it was an accident, but to have that much love and forgiveness in her heart showed how incredibly strong and loving she is. 
After thinking about her story and about what it means to forgive, another story caught my eye a day or two later - Michelle Night.
Michelle was one of the three women held captive and abused for years and years and escaped last year.  She also has a book out and was speaking with reporters.  She spoke about holding the hand of one of the other girls and how she would tell her that they would get out of there soon and keep believing.  Michelle talked a little about tough moments and thoughts of ending her life, but she also spoke about seeing butterflies and having hope for a better future and for freedom.
Her captor committed suicide in jail.  As I heard of his death my thoughts and prayers were for those girls - not their captor.  When Michelle was asked how she felt about his death she replied that she was sad that he took his own life and that she forgave him for what he did.  When the stunned reporter asked why, she said that he is a "human being" and that everyone deserves forgiveness.
I was so moved by her words.
I thought about Rachel's story - the push was an accident - no harm intended despite the outcome.  I can come to understand her forgiveness.  But Michelle's forgiveness of her captor is something that is just so hard to comprehend. 
These two women both have incredible stories of accomplishment and resilience and their ability to forgive is just one example of the optimism and resilience and incredible strength they both have.
Hearing the stories of these women remind me of the blessings I have in life and how grateful I am, but it also makes me think about what resentments I may hold on to at times and remind me the importance of forgiveness in my life.

I would love to hear your stories of forgiveness and your thoughts on the healing power it can have...

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