My heart is heavy this morning. My dear friend, Rita will once again, be face to face with the man responsible for her son Chad's murder 24 years ago. Today is his parole hearing. Chad was shot to death.
My other friend, is the beloved sister of the man who murdered Rita's son. These two women are incredible beings. My heart aches for both of them.
On March 14th, our family will be attending our first parole hearing for the man responsible for my cousin Kathy's murder. He stabbed her to death and tossed her body onto a lonely back road on April 19, 1999.
These are the situations and circumstances of many lives on any given day.
Life and Death! Negative and Positive! Love and Hate!
As crazy as it may seem, I have an advantage. God, it makes me kind of sick to even type this. But, for me, I know that this is true.
I have had the opportunity to live as a "low life".
I came from a single parent home. My dad died when I was a baby. My mom was addicted.
I was pregnant at 18. I was on welfare. I had another child at 21. Typical right? I was addicted.
I was in an abusive relationship. The list goes on and on. I was one of the statistics.
I was a throw away. I would never amount to anything. At least, that is what was constantly said to me.
But, something happened. I had a moment of clarity. I had a glimpse of something more. I knew, in that small still moment, that this was my chance to do something different.
At 23 years old, I reached out for help. I prayed to a God that I had little to no understanding of.
My life was about to change in ways I never thought possible.
People have helped me all along this journey. I took every opportunity that was presented to me. I was given the tools necessary to become a better mother to my children. I went back to school. I became a productive member of society. I've also learned to give back that which has been so freely given to me.
I am not proud of any of this, but it is why I have an advantage. I have lived the other side. I have harmed people with my behavior and actions.
Today I have the advantage of feeling the effects of forgiveness for myself and forgiving others. I understand the disease of addiction and the dark places it can take one to. I still have a difficult time accepting the fact that Kathy and my son Matthew are gone because of it.
I have a choice today. I can stay angry and bitter because of what has happened. Or, I can use this pain as fuel and do something good with it. I'm living the latter.
God, continue to clear my mind and heal my heart. Guide me where You would have me go. Give me the eye's to see, the ear's to hear, and the words to speak. Amen