Forgiveness is powerful, but in times like these, I believe time is much more powerful.
The tricky thing about the aftermath of an attack like we saw in Manchester, is striking a balance between honouring those who lost loved ones, the families who will never, ever be the same due to senseless violence, and letting go of rage. If you spend any time on social media, or watching the news after a terrorist attack it is such a mixed bag of “next steps” from unsolicited advice givers. From people who are way removed from the epicenter of the tragedy. So many posts about being “light workers” about “forgiving” so that it takes away the power of the attackers, doesn’t give evil the “leg up.” And I’m all for that. I totally get where well meaning people are coming from, but seriously folks, let’s give the grieving families some space to mourn. To process. To deal with their shock before we go preaching at them about forgiveness.
Forgiveness has always been a delicate dance. Often, forgiving an act, a person, or a group of people can be misconstrued as weak. Like we didn’t allow the person who caused the pain, the upset, the horror to suffer in the same way that we are suffering. Nobody likes to be perceived as weak. Nobody wants an instigator to feel as if they have power over them. Forgiving somebody for a hurtful action “too soon” can sometimes leave those affected by the act, angry, or maybe even ripped off that their suffering will go on for years, and years. Yet the person responsible for that pain is let off the hook.
I’m not going to write a flowery post about how forgiveness sets you free. Even though any of us who have had to exercise the act, actually the art, or forgiving on a regular basis can certainly attest to this as being true. Instead, today, I want to write about time. God knows there is power in forgiveness. But we also know that there is as much power, if not more in allowing time to work its magic. Time really does heal all things. Although, as a mother, I’m not quite sure I can imagine time ever truly healing the broken heart of a parent who is now without their child. I have a difficult time believing that when a child is torn out of the lives of their family, the way so many were on Monday night, that any amount of time, or forgiveness can, or will ever repair that wound.
So I will only say this. In time, the tears won’t fall twenty-four seven over the tragic loss of your child. In time, you will smile again. In time, you will be able to laugh, and reminisce about your angel joyfully. In time, you will find peace and forgiveness in your heart, because you know that your child would not want you to spend the rest of your time filled with hatred, sadness or bitterness. In time you will come to believe that your child would not want you to also be robbed of the rest of your life. For if you allow that to happen, then they’ve not only won, but they’re destruction, hatred and violence carries on through the generations. And this is where their true victory lies.
For all those parents and children who lost siblings, or parents on Monday night, I pray that one day, not today, not even in 365 days from now you will once again find light, joy and forgiveness. Not for those who committed such a heinous act, but for yourselves, for your loved ones who are still among you. May you all unite together in your sorrow now, so that in time you will create more love.