“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” — Lewis B. Smedes

How many of us have been hurt before, directly or indirectly, by someone, a situation, or an experience? The degree may be different from one person to another, but all of us have. I learned that forgiveness plays a big role in releasing the pain within those affected by the experience. Growing up, asking for forgiveness was a decision I would consider when I knew I was the perpetrator. But not until much later would I learn the value of forgiving someone who had hurt me. This was a valuable form of releasing myself from the pain of anger. The latter was a much more challenging step to take for me. I am amazed at those who can do it, seemingly with ease.

I remember watching the news and following the story about Pope John Paul II’s attempted assassination. He later met his would-be assassin in person and forgave him. More than a decade later, I was watching a movie “Dead Man Walking” and was amazed at the ability of sister Prejean to separate the human from the act. I thought these people were almost saint-like because of who they were. I know forgiveness takes courage and it is a process. I have been drawn to stories like this, and I eventually experienced the gift, the total freedom created, when I was able to release the hurt by forgiving. That was when I gained wisdom from the incident. I still am drawn to stories like this because it becomes a valuable reminder for me.

This morning, when I was driving home from grocery shopping, I heard a story through NPR, of Tony Hicks and Azim Khamisa, “Both Ends of the Gun: How Two Men Were Brought Together in Tragedy and Forgiveness.” It is worth reading or listening to. https://storycorps.org/stories/both-ends-of-the-gun-how-two-men-were-brought-together-in-tragedy-and-forgiveness/

The step to forgiveness may be easier to take when what happens is tangible, the situation and the person to forgive is clear. Not so much otherwise. My mom died when I was six years old. I do not have many memories about her other than stories related to my brother and I by family members. She passed on two days after giving birth to my baby brother. Her departure caught me off guard. Two days prior, I was excited and happy awaiting the arrival of a baby brother. Instead, my mom came home in a coffin. Then two days later, at church, I witnessed the coffin being carried away. I could still remember that moment. I asked my dad where they were taking her. His response was “Mom is not coming home with us, she is going to God’s home.” I was confused. I knew my baby brother was with us but not my mom, and she did not even say goodbye.

There was one story that helped me change my perspective, which then helped me forgive. This story had been shared with me before, but for decades it only stayed as a story. The family had formed a plan, some time prior to the due date, that my mom would fly to a bigger city to deliver the baby because there was no obstetrician available to help her in our small town. A week before the planned departure, she changed her mind because she did not want to leave my brother and I, even though my grandparents were able to take care of us. She chose to deliver the baby closer to home. For that, she lost her life. She loved us so much that she took the risk. She never meant to leave us. When I understood that part of the story, I was released from my childhood confusion, the one I subconsciously hung on to for a long time.

I finally arrived at a point of emotional freedom. I released the entanglement with the past when I changed my perspective toward what happened. I wish you the same if you still carry some discontentment with the past. I am here to guide you gain the freedom when you are ready. Reach out to me — https://ingemaskun.com/contact/

Peace be with you.