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Sometimes we see things we didn’t want to see, but once seen the image stays with us forever. The images of President Kennedy being shot or the 9/11 visuals are examples. Last week, we saw …
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Sometimes we see things we didn’t want to see, but once seen the image stays with us forever.
The images of President Kennedy being shot or the 9/11 visuals are examples. Last week, we saw thousands of Americans, some carrying U.S. flags, storming our U.S. Capitol. Some broke down doors and windows to get inside the Capitol building. Officials knew that President Trump had called on his followers to converge on Washington, D.C. to promote his assertion that the election wasn’t honestly conducted. I had the television on to watch the debate of the certification of the electoral college delegate votes. Suddenly, the members of Congress were whisked away to safer parts of the Capitol building.
I have voted in many presidential elections and even served as a state representative to my party’s convention. I worked on a couple of campaigns. Two campaigns on which I worked didn’t win. I was deeply disappointed that my candidate lost, but it never occurred to me to not support the president who was elected. Well, 81 million voters chose Biden, while 74 million chose the president, and it’s not certain that the 74 million will support or even acknowledge President Biden.
This disagreement is made more pronounced by the fact that there is little neutral ground between the two camps. I planned to write about this horrific event and to fix the blame and go on awfulizing about what happened. But I am not going to do that. Instead, I want to talk about the real underlying cause … hate or lack of empathy towards others. I have already written about more civility in the new year.
I remember a great book I read last year by Arthur C. Brooks “Love Your Enemies.” As a result of Brooks’ book, last week was one of those times that I decided to do something that would be exceedingly difficult … to give forgiveness to someone whose actions had hurt me in a significant way. Brooks’ book had convinced me that the benefit to this person would be minor compared with the benefit I would receive and the cleansing that would occur. I hope my decision to forgive this person wasn’t selfish, but I did know that it would be hard. The act of this person wasn’t meant to harm me, but it was done with self-serving motives and the person certainly knew that it was wrong. The result has changed my life and is not reversible.
This individual lives in Chicago, so I decided that I would deliver the forgiveness while visiting my son who also lives there. I must have been afraid I wouldn’t follow through, so I shared my plan with my son. I guess this was my way of committing to act.
On the given day that I planned to meet the person, I picked up the phone to verify that he would be present. I secretly hoped he wouldn’t be there … he was. As I approached him, he didn’t recognize me until I gave him my name. As I had rehearsed, I said, “I have come here to announce that I have forgiven you.” He was overcome with emotion. We spent almost an hour discussing how the event had affected us. We parted and I headed back to my son’s house. He greeted me with “How did it go, dad?” He told me he was proud of me, and then it was my turn to become emotional. His comment made it worthwhile.
I tell this story in such detail because I hope to cause you to erase some hate you may be harboring. What happened at the Capitol was a hate event. There must be a better way. I hope you will forgive someone.
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