The next three chapters permits the reader to peak into the life of Joy, her mother Nelly and her sisters. At the end of chapter six, Catherine Claire Larson poses the question “As you think about forgiveness what are your biggest emotional or intellectual objections to it?
I had to read the question a few times. Why would I object to forgiving? Who am I not to forgive?
I believe when you forgive someone it releases you from the burdens of hate, anger and revenge. When you are full of hate, anger and the call for for revenge, your body suffers. In the book, Joy suffered from an ulcer, as result of her emotions. Your mind is entangled with the past. “What ifs” fill your every waking moment, there is no room for the present and “what now”. So from an intellectual standpoint I have no objections to forgiveness and all that it implies within the context of As we Forgive.
From an emotional standpoint, my view on forgiveness changed rather swiftly. On Sunday, I watched my Mom play with Emma. Emma was rolling around on her pillows and blankets, just being a ham. It was a perfect moment. If I lost either of them to natural causes, I would be heartbroken. To lose either of them to a calculated act of violence would be unforgiveable. I allowed myself to travel down that path, and my gut reaction almost floored me. My thoughts swirled around, revenge and retribution. In that moment I wanted the perpetrator to feel the same pain as me.
Then Emma grabbed my foot and asked for cereal.
I began to think rationally. Would I want Emma to be consumed by anger, hate or revenge? Never. I need to set the example to make sure that does not happen. I need to truly embrace forgiveness from both an intellectual and emotional standpoint. I thought I was open to forgiveness. I realize now, that I have a lot to learn.