Does forgiving help us to keep going?

Do you remember this terrible story, wherein a couple lost five of their children in a collision?

Deacon Greg links to an inspiring conclusion to that terrible story.

Now, more than two years after the accident, Mr. Helm has been acquitted on charges of vehicular homicide. Mr. Schrock says he has accepted that he may never know exactly what happened or why. He also says he has a friend he did not have before, Mr. Helm.

“The primary bond there is the accident,” Mr. Schrock said. “We’re both injured by that, physically and mentally.”
Friendship under such circumstances is complicated, Mr. Schrock said, like pretty much everything else that has happened since the accident. For him, the challenge has been to forgive Mr. Helm without expecting resolution, and to build a friendship regardless of the forces working against it.

This reminds me of a story here on Long Island, where a teenager who was goofing around, stupidly, threw a frozen turkey at a moving car and nearly destroyed a woman’s face, and how that turned out:

Surgeons, who rebuilt her face using metal plates and screws, said the impact might have caused lasting brain damage. But prosecutors say that Ms. Ruvolo’s recovery has been remarkable and that she is once again back at work and living on her own.

Accompanied by several friends and relatives, Ms. Ruvolo, a 44-year-old office manager, came to court wearing a black pantsuit and a gold cross on a chain for her first face-to-face meeting with Mr. Cushing.

Stopping to speak to her on his way out of the courtroom, Mr. Cushing choked on an apology and began to cry. For an intensely emotional few minutes, Ms. Ruvolo alternately embraced him tightly, stroked his face and patted his back as he sobbed uncontrollably.

Many of the two dozen people in court – prosecutors, court officers and reporters – choked back tears.

“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” Mr. Cushing said over and over again. “I didn’t mean it.” Most of their exchange was whispered, but at one point Ms. Ruvolo’s advice to him was just barely audible.

“It’s O.K., it’s O.K.,” she said. “I just want you to make your life the best it can be.”

And we saw this sort of heroic forgiveness among the Amish after their children were slaughtered.

I was at Adoration earlier today and wondering about saints and heroes, and whether it is “easier” sometimes to be a “hero” when things are clearly one or the other – good or bad, black or white – than when things are ambiguous and blurred as so much is, in our age. And I wondered too whether it’s easier to be merciful, when a hurt against you is huge and very, very clear, when it is a “hurt” that you know is going to be with you every day for the rest of your life…maybe when it’s that crystaline – so obvious that you don’t need Oprah or Dr. Phil to tell you you’ve been hurt – you have to forgive or you can’t move on, either. Maybe if you can’t forgive…you kill your own spirit.

I hope I never have to find that out for sure.

Related: The Mystery of Forgiveness
Mea Culpa has its values

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