Recently I posted about Chris Williams, the man whose wife and 2 children were killed in a drunk-driving accident. See his story here.
I finished his book. Let It Go: A True Story of Tragedy and Forgiveness. It was wonderful, heartbreaking and beautiful. I flew home to Iowa for Thanksgiving. I read Chris’s book on the plane. Wrong move. While reading the book I became very emotional. It took everything I had to keep it together. I feel sorry for those who sat next to me. Ha-ha. Some of you might be wondering why I chose to read a book such as this. I wanted to read it for a few reasons. Something you should know about me is that I love self-help books. LOVE THEM. They help me to learn about others and myself. I am also fascinated by death. That might sound weird but I truly believe death is a beautiful thing. How people cope with loss appeals to me as well. And when I saw the video of Chris and his story I was moved. I was moved to compassion and inspired to be one who would choose to forgive. Choose to “let it go.” Below is a passage from his book.
“I knew that the adversary works tirelessly to steal our peace and turn us against each other. We all make mistakes, sometimes with terrible consequences, I reminded myself. We say something that should never had been said, we do something that should never had been done, we misunderstand, misrepresent, or misinterpret, and our actions or words create hurt in our own lives and in the lives of others. And there are those who suffer cruelties at the hands of others. I thought of the five people whose lives ended Monday night at Trolley Square. And yet He who knows that these and so many other kinds of tragedies would occur commanded us to combat them with love. He knows that when we’re hurt, we’re vulnerable and thus susceptible to grudges, hidden wedges, and wounds, all of which, if left unchecked, could fester into anger, retribution, vilification, even hatred.
Without the necessary healing the Savior provides, over time we may begin to wonder why we’re not as happy as we used to be, why we’re a little more critical, a little less patient, and more judgmental, why we withhold our love and affection rather than give it – all the while feeling more miserable, rather than joyful in this life.
I recalled in my mind the many experiences of the last week preceding the viewing and the funeral and the roller coaster of emotions propelling me from the extreme highs of peace to the depths of sadness and grief, over and over. What an opportunity for the adversary to kick me when I was down, to finish me off and heap added misery into my life had I chosen to not follow the Savior’s command and “let it go.” How seemingly easy and justifiable it would have been for me to join him in his misery, to get angry, to vilify, to lash out at this life and how wrong everything in it had just become.
The Savior had suffered all so that we would not have to. He said He would take our burdens, and He repeated the invitation to give them to Him while He ministered in the flesh, and He has since reminded us what He accomplished in the Atonement. There’s no way I was or ever will be strong enough to bear that burden I was presented on the night of the crash. It was immediately given to the Lord at His command, and I instead took upon me His light burden and easy yoke of serving and loving others – having full faith in the Savior and in His ability to bear my heavy burden and to heal my family.”