I reach for another box found in the furthest corner of our basement - it's heavy. But when I open it, I find an old blanket I have never seen before - at least I don't remember it. I begin to unpack it carefully. There embedded in the pure softness, I find some of the awards that I’ve received over the years.
As I continue sorting through the boxes, I find more and more. I begin to gather them until I have an entire shelf filled with awards that are all engraved with congratulatory words.
I am astounded. They are beautiful, meaningful, and filled with exquisite memories. I remember how humbled I was each time I received one - never quite knowing what to say and never feeling I deserved the recognition.
Now that they are on the same shelf – collected and all together – I find myself looking back at my life through the lens of these precious awards, I am filled with awe!
There is the Canadian Criminal Justice Association Award, Distinguished Christian Leadership Award, Order of Manitoba, Nellie Award, the Ron Wiebe Restorative Justice Award and the Trailblazer Award – just to name a few. To receive one award, I was flown into Ottawa, to Toronto and another to BC. With each award there is a breathtaking memory of a gala events.
As I examine them, I feel a sense of wonderment. Because of the trauma of murder of the murder of our daughter, I thought I was destined to become someone mired in depression, spending my last days staring at white walls ruled by feelings of nothingness.
How did this happen? How did I – the one voted least to succeed as a child – earn this kind of recognition? How did I even survive the hellish life I encountered, one failure after another, culminating in one huge public tragedy – a personal calamity – yet emerge with a shelf of awards symbolizing something extra-ordinary?
I’ve been asked by other – "How did you do it?" Everyone seems surprised.
Even though - since I'm downsizing - I'm tempted to repack them. I don't. In my new home, I plan to display these awards, not for my own merit but to honor the power of the word forgiveness.
That one choice of ours, "to forgive" made all the difference.
Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life. - Joan Lunden