August 2nd is a National Forgiveness Day, if you have ever wondered about the value of forgiveness, you might enjoy a story I heard recently on NPR’s Story Corps.
The story is about Oshea Israel and Mrs. Johnson. When Oshea was 16 he got into an argument with Mrs. Johnson’s son. He hadn’t meant to kill him, but that was the outcome of Oshea’s violent outburst. When Mrs. Johnson saw him in court, all she wanted to do was make him suffer as much as had with the loss of her son and rejoiced when this young man was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for manslaughter.
Twelve years into Oshea’s sentence, Mrs. Johnson decided to meet him for she wanted to tell her son’s murderer how much he had hurt her. They talked a bit then she started to tell him of her pain. As she did so, she cried. Oshea, struck by her pain, simply held her. With just that kind gesture of his, they both realized that each of them had been hurt by a young person’s foolish temper and vowed to make it up to a one another.
Mrs. Johnson began to visit him and became the caring mother Oshea never had. He became the son she had tragically lost at his hand. Today they are as close to caring for and loving one another as any mother and child can be. Her love has inspired Oshea to make something out of his life. Two years out of prison he is entering his junior year in college and spends his free time mentoring young boys. His goal is to convince them to forego violence and create a productive life for themselves regardless of their life experiences.
Hopefully your need to forgive someone may not be as dramatic as Mrs. Johnson’s. However, if someone can receive such healing after experiencing the worst a mother can face, then it’s probable that you too would benefit,
Go ahead…forgive “Hubby” for asking yet one more time where you are going and what time you will be home or for telling you how to cook something you have prepared perfectly for the past 20 or 30 years. By doing that, you might just feel calm enough to have a good conversation about why that really drives you crazy.