“Die?” my mum said, “Why would you say that?”
“Because you’re in bed a lot.” I said, “At school today, my teacher said that when people get old they stay in bed a lot and then they die.”
“I’m not going to die, sweetie. Mummy’s just got a sore tummy.”
“Let me tell you why most of you are here tonight,” the speaker said to the crowd. “If you are experience headaches, muscle stiffness, extreme tiredness, internal infections, bowel trouble, stomach pains, ulcers – you have been hurt by someone.“
My mother sat up and stared at the man on the stage. “All of these things and many others are ways our body tells us we are hurting.”
Then the speaker slowed his pace and said, “What I’m going to say next is going to make some of you angry but it is true. If you want to be well, if you want to be healthy again, you need to forgive the person who hurt you.”
My mother felt tears trickling down her cheeks. How could she ever forgive her father for what he’d done? She had held those painful memories for years. Forgiving him seemed impossible.
“Forgiveness is your way of handing back the suffering; back to the person who should be bearing its weight.” The man continued, “The emotional pain you feel should be carried by the person who caused that pain, not you. Forgive them and let them take ownership of their personal brokenness. It’s not yours, it’s theirs. You deserve peace and healing.”
It took some time. Months. Finally my mum was able to visit her father and tell him she forgave him.
And, amazingly, once she let go of the hatred and the pain, she began to heal. The ulcers, the headaches and the other health issues she had been suffering faded away as she healed – heart, mind and soul.
There is power in forgiveness.