“A Journey to God and Forgiveness”
We all have defining moments in our lives and my moment occurred on a Friday spring day. It started like every other day, but with exceptions. One, my paternal Grandma was in town visiting, which was a rare occurrence. My clinically blind grandma also brought with her a handgun, although my family was unaware of this at the time. And most importantly, my mom gave me a very long hug that morning before I set off for school that day. So long was the hug that I had to pry myself away, so I wouldn’t be late to school. I knew that my mother suffered from depression, but this was unusual.
Later that same day, I was pulled off a school bus that was heading to a junior high track meet. The principal told me there was an accident at home and a police officer would take me home. By Sunday, my mother was pronounced dead.
After my mom’s death, life was expected to go back to normal. I went back to school and I tried to pretend as if nothing had happened, everything was fine.
My belief in God was defined early on due to my family tragedy, as was my ability to forgive. I remember my mother’s vibrant and enthusiastic manner before her illness and unfortunately, I also remember vividly her chronic, and unrelenting depression. I also believe that my grandma contributed to my mother’s death. This is not a conclusion that has come easily or quickly for me. The mind is mysterious in how it protects us from things that are so difficult to comprehend.
Much later in high school, a well-meaning individual informed me that my mother couldn’t be in heaven because of the manner in which she died. I remember vividly my angry response. How could God punish her for an illness that wasn’t her fault?
I wanted to believe God would not judge in such a hateful way, but the question lingered stubbornly in my mind. I decided I wouldn’t have anything to do with a God or church that condemned so easily. It seemed hypocritical to me that God would be so unloving when God was needed the most.
Overcoming many obstacles, I was able to move forward with my life and accomplish all of the “normal” benchmarks that were important for me to achieve. I finished high school, went to college, got a job, got married and started a family. But it’s been a difficult journey.
I now believe I survived this complex tragedy and other difficulties, but not on my own. I believe in guardian angels, the people that God puts in our lives to sustain us so that we might reach our God-given potential. It took the birth of my children for me to believe in God and the importance of forgiveness. God knows my unique heart and loves me just the same for it. And now, maybe I know and trust God’s heart too.
“Shut out all your past except that which will help you weather your tomorrows”
Sir William Osler
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