Sunday, December 16, 2012

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Back when I lived in CT, while I was still young, I knew a family. They went to the same church as we did for awhile before switching to a new one. The wife's parents stayed very active in our church.

They were nice and kind and the young children were good kids. I helped take care of the little girl in AWANA. AWANA is a church youth group that teaches kids bible verses. Lots of games and singing and praising God.

When they left the church and found another home church, I didn't think much of it. I was a teenager and didn't think much about a lot of stuff.

Until the day I read the paper and started crying like a baby. Scott Pickles had killed his family. He smothered his daughter with a pillow  and beat his son to death with a bat and then stabbed his wife to death. The daughter was six and his son was only 3.

I was 3 blocks away when he was snuffing out their lives. I was sickened and terrified that it could have happened. It shattered my illusion that the world was safe.

After he killed them, he drove to his brother's house in South Carolina. He told his brother what he had done and his brother called the police.

3 days their bodies sat and decayed in an empty house three blocks away from me.

I was shocked and angry. Terribly angry. Angry that he had taken their lives. Angry at how he had done it. Angry that he wasn't dead himself. Angry that my world had been turned upside down.

He pled insanity. The prosecution decided not to pursue the death penalty.

Side note. Ever since the death penalty got reinstated in CT, it was never used. No prosecutor had the cojones to do it because of the public outcry.

I was enraged. He deserved to die for what he did. He killed his own flesh and blood. One after another after another. That prosecutor was a spineless idiot.

He ended up in a mental institution for a while then prison for life. No possibility of parole.

Jail wasn't good enough in my mind. Why did he get to live? Where was God in all this?

I hated him. Wished him dead. A slow painful death of stab wounds and beatings and asphixation. I didn't realize I could hate that much.

It was 1997 when they were killed. I won't ever forget them.

It took a long time for the anger to go. I knew they were in heaven. I knew that holding onto anger never helps anything.

I finally was able to let it go. It was a slow glacially slow process. I can be very stubborn.

I didn't forgive him because I thought he was sorry or because I thought he'd suffered enough.

I forgave him because holding that hate inside for so long was damaging me. I had to let go of that burden. He certainly doesn't care that I hated him. I very much doubt he remembers who I am. It didn't solve anything.

My hate wasn't going to make him suffer. My hate wasn't going to dry the tears of their relatives. My hate wasn't going to magically bring them back or change history. My hate was useless. My hate was making me bitter. My hate was a waste of time.

I wish I could've made myself let it go sooner. Ever since I did, I feel lighter.

I hadn't thought about the Pickles in a while. This tragic school shooting with the senseless violence and dead children brought it all back.

The children are the hardest. Innocence lost. Lives never fulfilled. You what if and coulda shoulda woulda. No what if will ever bring them back. Their lives were shooting stars burning bright before fading out.

The shooter is already dead. People are searching on where to put their blame and hate. Hopefully they will put down their hate quickly and love each other instead.

Terrible things will happen no matter what we do. But that is not what I focus on. What I think about is this. Wonderful things will happen because of what we do.

Susan, Elizabeth, and Alexander Pickles. Gone but never forgotten. May God hold you safe in heaven until we meet again.