Forgiveness and a P-Coat

Great story in the Inquirer of how Kevin Johnson handled meeting one of the attackers who harmed him and put him in a wheelchair. They’re friends now.

You can call me a Catholic, call me a hippie, call me an Idealist ENFP but I know the healing your receive when you forgive someone.

I’m not talking about simply telling someone you forgive them – because that’s just bullshit – I’m talking about those inward absolutions of the heart that let the hate that drags you down go. Letting go of hate is always a good thing.

The world would be a better place if more people tried.

This Christmas Richelle’s dad gave me one of his two remaining P Coat‘s from his time in the Navy during the Vietnam War. They have his serial number and name written on a label stitched inside. The one he gave me had spittle on it’s shoulder from Richelle and Rose from when they were babies.

To most people, this would be a very meaningful, sentimental thing. But to me – let me tell you – it meant everything.

Richelle’s dad and mom didn’t like me so much when they met me. Didn’t like me at all really. I was a kid from the wrong side of Kensington, and they thought I was bad for their daughter – that I was not worthy of her. Richelle’s brother and sister, on the other hand, accepted me almost immediately (well not her brother… that took time), they would become my brother and sister. I love them so very much.

Mom and dad’s rejection had hurt deeply. I was already distrusting and definitely became more so as a reaction. It was a very dark time. They had good reasons – I had lied about living with my parents, I had lied about living in a squat, and wasn’t in High School when I should have been – I just couldn’t see it then.

Over the years, much has happened, and along the way I struggled. They witnessed that struggle – and learned about the man that I want to be – that I still not am. I would earn their respect and trust. Likewise, I was eventually able to see things from their perspective and know why they felt and reacted as they did. They loved their daughter. Sometimes things can be so clear when we put ourselves in other’s shoes.

One day I would ask Richelle’s dad for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The family and I planned my surprise proposal to Richelle – it took place in front of everyone, at a favorite restraunt of their’s, on her Grandfather’s birthday.

Dad is recovering from an operation to deal with his sleep apnea. He’s been on my mind.

If you’re reading this Dad and Mom – I love you, Karl