Pain. Fear. Anger.
Survival. Forgiveness. Closure.
All of us have traveled this road at least once. Journeys triggered by loss or tragedy…illness or suffering. We’ve sat at each stop along the road, not sure whether we would ever see the next one…not knowing how traveling further could even be possible.
As we read this, we wonder whether any among us currently sit at a stop right now.
They are. We all are. You are, too.
I don’t have solutions or quick fixes to offer today. Nor should I. Our roads are deep and complex and require more than simple steps and guru quotes.
Instead, what I offer is a small gift of connection. I just want to be with you for a few minutes where you sit — whatever stop that may be. (Hopefully, you are decent, or this will be awkward…maybe cover your camera just in case.)
I can’t exactly explain why I want this for you today as you head into your weekend. I think it’s because something about the year’s end brings out our journeys…past and present.
Perhaps it is the spirit of the season as we reconnect with the people and parts of us that matter. Perhaps our mind, heart, and soul are embracing the cycle of the seasons — using this time to close out, reflect, and prepare for what is to come. Maybe it’s the lack of sun or too many hours watching “A Christmas Carol” on repeat.
Maybe it is just me…but my guess is I’m not alone. (We never are.)
Power exists in connection, so I hope this brief moment together serves you.
I also want to serve you by letting you know something you may have forgotten in the midst of well-meaning advice or self judgment: You are on this road where you need to be at this moment. Allow yourself to shed the pressure to be somewhere you just can’t be right now. Throw out sentences that start with “I should do” or “I should be.”
Focus on what you need to be whole and well at the place where you sit.
To help you, I offer two stories that inspire and show us that our journeys unfold as we are ready for them to do so.
- Greg Gibson and Wayne Lo — In 1992, Wayne Lo murdered Greg Gibson’s son, Galen, in a campus shooting. Twenty-five years later, Gibson visited Lo in prison to speak with him for the first time since losing his son.
“But what about this matter of moving on, and the healing and forgiveness it implies? There’s a lot of grand-sounding mumbo jumbo in circulation, but I’ve never read book or seen a talk show that can explain the mystery of a person making a conscious decision not to be defined by a Bad Thing, and simply living life from that point on, day-by-day. Then the Bad Thing becomes just a part of a life, and when we look around at other people we discover that most of them have experienced bad things too, and have made similar decisions. Survival is the rule, not the exception, and I can’t understand the “why” of it any more than I can understand why a cut heals over.
The idea of forgiveness is a greater mystery still—one I’ll spend the rest of my life attempting to unravel. As it happens, I’ve got a helper in this endeavor, a strange sort of sidekick. His name is Wayne Lo and he’s the man who murdered my son.”
- Eva Mozes Kor — Ten-year-old Eva spent nine months at Auschwitz, surviving starvation and experiments conducted on her as part of Dr. Josef Mengele’s infamous twin experiments. Fifty years later, she forgives and finds true liberation.
“For 10 months, she wondered how to send a thank-you gift to a Nazi and even visited a local Hallmark store and futilely looked at the thank-your cards for more than two hours. ‘How do you thank a Nazi? I did not know,’ Kor said. Then she said it popped into her head: She would write him a letter of forgiveness.”
We journey alone yet together. We suffer and connect and heal through love of each other and self. Thank you for letting me sit with you as you close out your week and move towards a new year.
And, as always, I leave you with a few questions to ask yourself as you rest and re-energize:
- What do I need to be whole where I am?
- How will I know when I am ready to journey on? What will it feel like? What will I have?
- What do I need to overcome or learn to move forward? What might I do to be successful?
- What do I want this journey to mean to me? What do I want it to produce in me…or for others? How does this connect with where I am at now?
Please feel free to comment and share your support or thoughts; we’d love to hear from you!
*For further reading on the two stories highlighted here, click on the links below:
- Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz
- Gone Boy: A Father’s Search for the Truth in His Son’s Murder