A Gala - Direction
It took me 23 years to understand the issues of the Abyss of murder and how to apply them to a "lifestyle forgiveness."
It would take me another 7 years to understand the issues around the Abyss of a murderer and how to apply a "relational forgiveness." Not that I am through learning the lessons of either.
I remember the night Cliff and I attended a gala night recognizing Child Find Manitoba’s 25th Anniversary, April 2, 2010 held in the Grand Ballroom of the Fort Garry Hotel here in Winnipeg. The Honorable Gord MacKintosh, Minister of Family Services and Consumer Affairs, honored our family by presenting us with a gift, a beautiful picture, and letter. Everything about the evening was elegant. It was a black tie event, hosted by the capable Richard Cloutier, 680 CJOB and opened with grace by Myrna Driedger, MLA – Charleswood. Many of the guest list of 300 were just as notable and recognizable.
Lianna McDonald, the Executive Director of the National Canadian Centre for Child Find Protection who moved through the crowd so easily and with such grace made everyone feel welcomed and appreciated. The rest of the staff were just as amazing. The theme. “Born from tragedy, building our future.”
The ball room in itself is grand and lovely, chandeliers, white linen table cloths, and painted murals. The menu, Roast Beef Tenderloin, Asparagus Spears, and Roasted Buttercup Squash Potato William was presented and done perfectly. It was all fit for royalty.
It was memorable!
But what really makes it memorable is Gord McIntosh. I met him twice during the events of that evening. Even though he was in a new government portfolio, to me and our relationship, he was still the Minister of Justice which he had been when we first met.
Each time I met him -- it seemed he stepped back into the role of Minister of Justice. Each time he more or less pointed at me. "You have to write a book about forgiveness! There is something about your brand of forgiveness that we all need to learn - especially the victim community."
Driving home, my husband said. "I think that was the voice of God - you better write the book."
All I remember was the terror I felt when he said it. By this time I didn't find the writing of a book daunting - I had done that.
I found the topic terrifying.
I hadn't been that successful in my addressing the topic. No matter which crowd I addressed, there would be some victim of a horrendous crime who would button hole me after and take me to task for 'not caring - being irresponsible - and even dangerous." They thought I was all about letting all the prisoners free.
Then on the other side, I had one foot in the Restorative Justice camp where some of the extreme fundamentalist talked about the abolition of the penal system. When I talked about accountability and holding people in prison for their own safety and others, I was seen as revengeful and not forgiving.
I had never gotten it right in either group -- probably because I hadn't figured it out myself.
Yet - I did believe that choosing forgiveness right in the very beginning of it all - had saved us, our marriage relationship, our family relationships, and had even in some serendipitous way - was the reason our case was now moving the justice agenda through the court system.
Others were also seeing that and attributing our family health to forgiveness.
I should have seen his confidence in me as a good thing -- yet I was terrified.
I had been in the uncomfortable position of being a middle child all my life - I knew exactly what that meant. I did not relish this new position of being the middle child in a forgiveness debate!
To write a book would be wading right smack dab into the middle of it. I wasn't sure I was well-equipped enough to do it. I didn't have the debating skills, the writing skills, the theological, philosophical or psychological background to do it.
Besides -- I was still in the middle of the story - the trial hadn't even happened yet.
"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." - Paul Boese