When is the right time to forgive?

There was an article in the Globe and Mail titled “A mother’s story: Her love never stopped” written by Gary Mason.  It wasn’t what I expected because it was about the mother of the male accused of kidnapping a 3 year old from his home at night, rather than from the mother of the boy who was kidnapped.

For those of you not in Canada, there was a 3 year old boy abducted from his home by a troubled man (read sexual deviant) who returned the boy to the same home unharmed after a plea from the parents of the child and from his own mother in the media.

The father of the abducted child, Paul Hebert, has come out to say that he has chosen compassion over anger because anger is only for people who want to see themselves as the victim.

I can understand how he might feel grateful to the man for the lack of harm his son suffered.  I would give anything, easiest of all gratitude, to David Bagshaw had he restrained himself and stopped at 5 stab wounds and forwent the fatal blow.   I would have been temporarily grateful to him for sparing her life but eventually the reality of the act would have hit hard and I would have been enraged.

Is it possible that it’s still too soon for the events to have sunk in?  Does his generalization upset me because I feel that I don’t measure up to his capacity for  compassion?

I certainly don’t want to see myself as a victim and I’m pretty sure Mr. Herbert didn’t mean it the way it sounded.  Undoubtedly Mr. Hebert would have eventually arrived at compassion over anger for this man by virtue of the person he is.  I wonder though if he would be so quick to forgive had his son been sexually assaulted and murdered.

It is my greatest wish that Mr. Hebert continues on the path of healing and doesn’t need to travel down the road that some parents do when their children are the victims.  But forgiveness is a tall order that can take years to even believe possible.

All of us who grieve and who have been wronged so terribly have to figure things out for ourselves.   Of course it’s best to look forward rather than back – nothing good can come from purposely reliving the wrongs done to us (it will happen far too often anyway).  Striving to find peace is the key to happiness, but it is rarely as instantaneous as it would seem with Mr. Hebert.

I no longer feel the blind rage I once felt, but it lives under the surface.  Rarely does it rear its ugly head, except when it comes to my other children (note my previous post),  but no one needs to feel guilty when they can’t forgive as easily as they think they should.

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