After a recent high school distracted driving talk in Colorado a teen age girl asked me if I had forgiven the man who killed Casey. I told her that he had not reached out to me and I have never had a conversation with him. As I said this I felt a little cheap and dishonest-I know that my ability to forgive is not dependent upon the person to whom forgiveness is being granted being present or my having a face to face meeting or conversation with that person. While the other person might benefit from hearing me say "I forgive you" forgiveness begins before the actual words are communicated to the other. So I ducked her question and asked her why she asked. She told me that she has not forgiven the man who shot and killed her little brother and does not know if she will ever be able to do so. I was able to talk with her and let her know that forgiveness does not mean condoning what someone has done, but rather is making a decision to move on, past the anger, hate and bitterness that we feel towards another-that forgiveness can be so cleansing and freeing for those who choose to forgive as well as an incredible gift for the other. I think she is having to think about that a little-I would love to know how it all turns out for her .
I think I have forgiven the man who killed Casey for the killing but not for failing to reach out, for failing to try to express how sorry he was, for failing to act human and caring and failing to act how Casey would surely have acted had she killed him. I have not communicated anything to him.How does this inability to forgive= let that go and move beyond it- hurt me or hold me back? Maybe I don't understand forgiveness as well as I thought.