To the Editor,

The examples of compassion and forgiveness shown by those burdened with grief and sadness recently reaffirms the greatness of the human spirit within us all. And offers hope to the betterment of our society by the perseverance of kindness and love.

Robbie Parker, the father of a 6 year old victim of the school shooting, chose not to cast his well deserved anger upon the family of his daughters murderer but chose to offer his compassion instead. By recognizing that they were also at loss of loved ones, he showed his  love and support to those he was connected to by a unspeakable act of violence that was no fault of their own. And blessed the rest of us that witnessed this act of selfless understanding by doing so. Because of a simple act of compassion and forgiveness.

Stacy Jackson, the mother of Jerry Brown who was killed by the irresponsibility of Josh Brent in the fatal car wreck, invited Josh to sit with her during the funeral for her son. She knew that by doing so that the young man would benefit from her kindness. And she would allow the friendship that the two young men had shared to continue through her. Putting her own grieving behind the comforting of another was an act that will inspire me for a very long time. Because of a simple act of compassion and forgiveness.

Locally an incident occurred a few months ago. A woman was returning to her car with her groceries at a local store when she surprised a young man spitting on her window. She asked just what he was doing. He responded by spitting in her face and slamming her basket in the car, scratching it. He then cursed her referring a sticker she had on her bumper. Then he ran away. The woman was understandably upset as was the rest of her family after she told them of the incident. Many angry hours were spent reflecting on how to retaliate. Finally the woman said that she forgave the man and wished him the peace with others he obviously didn’t have. It was put down by the family and they wished for his understanding.

As it often happens in small town the woman and the man wound up in the same line at a fast food joint. She recognized him and he recognized her. All the young man could say was he was so very sorry. He repeated this over and over. The woman said it was OK now and that he had been forgiven for a long time. Again he said he was so sorry. Obliviously his negative action had turned inward and it was he that had become victimized. The woman understood this and explained that she no longer held contempt for him.  What she was giving him was the ability to finally be rid of his shame. She then wished him well and left. Later she told her family of what had transpired and all agreed that they hoped the man had a great weight lifted off his shoulders and that he and his family would now have a better Christmas. Because of a simple act of compassion and forgiveness.

The aforementioned examples will not rid the world of negative acts towards any. Or will they turn the tide of senseless evil shown recently. Nor will they bring sense to a chaotic time in our lives. But what they do show is a glimmer of hope, a flash of the light of kindness captured  by the hearts of mankind that when offered in collective compassion will manifest it’s brightness and touch us all so no darkness shall ever overtake us.

A wise man once said, “Forgive and forget. Then forget that you forgave while your at it.”

If only we can.

Alan Fox,