This post is going to be a bit of a P.I. post (personal information) but I felt moved enough to share. You can probably see that I was a bit M.I.A. this week (tired of my acronyms yet?) and I have a really good excuse. Not that I feel like I ever need to explain myself to my readers necessarily. But this trip I took was emotionally healing and quite frankly, amazing given the circumstances. I took a trip to my native California to be present for the sentencing of a man who killed a childhood friend and her unborn child. There. I said it. There is no sugar coating way of wording that sentence right there.
Four and a half years ago, a friend of mine was murdered and left in an alley like trash. I did not know this man who did it nor have I ever seen even a picture of him, but for years I had a faceless nightmare of a reality of the story of my dear friend Alisha. (The only news article still available online and not archived just does not portray the situation or relationship very well but you are welcome to read it if you are curious of the details- here)
The family of Alisha had asked any friends to be present at the sentencing, and to bring a letter to the court of how Alisha’s death has impacted us. The killer took a plea deal, and therefore would not be up for the death penalty. The deal would be life in prison, however with the possibility of parole in 25 years. It was important for us to bring the entourage to court, with letters about Alisha to help keep him from parole. Has hard and uncomfortable as it was for me to write a letter about my lost friend, I knew of it’s importance to the case. This man can NOT get parole. As I sat and wrote my letter at 1 am the morning of the trial, my heart struggled with anger knowing my religion teaches forgiveness. Where was I to find peace, even for just the duration of the letter writing? Much of the ending of my letter was directed to the killer, who I knew would be present in the courtroom when it was read. I addressed him as the monster he was, and scolded him for taking the life of someone who’s goal in life was solely to aid the less fortunate or needy. I felt somewhat better after I finished my letter. I felt clear minded, like I had finally vented my feelings on the situation. But nothing could have prepared me for the peace and comfort I would have felt AT the trial.
I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with my blog- I’m getting there, I promise!
The courtroom was filled with Alisha’s family and friends (50+) and only one person sat for the killer- his mother. The family of Alisha read their letters first, each having a similar theme. It wasn’t until Alisha’s dad read his that I finally found the peace I had been searching for. Alisha’s dad did not scold the man in shackles. He did not read anger or revenge in his letter. Instead, he addressed the criminal directly and said “We hold no malice. We seek no revenge. We forgive you but we will not forget this crime you have committed”. My heart filled with warmth, my body tingled in goosebumps. Forgiveness. There was the peace. Even the father of the victim found it in his heart to forgive and only by those words did the rest of us crumble in relief and finally breathe fresh. After that moment, I no longer wanted to read my letter (those friends who sat around me agreed about their letters) because it would do no good. We had letters of anger and revenge. The mood was now set, forgiveness.
Both the criminal and the judge were emotional after that father’s letter. It was pretty obvious he showed the true meaning of forgiveness, and acted as of Christ.
So today I post my posters that I have been trending lately- posters of Forgiveness. And I promise next week we’ll get back to DIY and crafts. I just needed this off my chest for this week.