Lesson in Forgiveness

Today was the first day I was really crabby after my accident. It was also the first day I was really angry. Angry not just at the guy who caused the accident, but kind of mad at the world.  The whole day it happened, and even the day after that, I wasn’t even remotely angry at the guy who hit me. We’ve all done stupid stuff when driving and I’m pretty sure a lot of us have done something that’s illegal when we’re driving too because we were in a hurry or whatever. We live in a culture that’s rush rush rush. We never stop to really think about things or even enjoy things, we just kind of go. Time is always this thing that eludes us and is scarce.

It’s funny to me though that I didn’t really get mad until today. One of my biggest pet peeves in life is when people do careless things or things without thinking about other people. When neighbors have loud parties all hours of the night (in my neighborhood, there’s a house that does this every single night), when people cut across three lanes of traffic because they realize they need to turn right on a street, when people just do things that affect or hurt others and they seem to not even think about it…this drives me absolutely insane. I’m not perfect by any means but I try really hard to always act compassionately and not do…for a lack of a better way of putting it….stupid shit to other people just because I need to be somewhere or do something.  So that probably makes me even less understanding. I wouldn’t do it so I don’t understand how someone else could.

When I read The Art of Happiness, it really taught me how to be compassionate towards other people no matter what they might do. To remember everyone is going through something and keep in mind that you never know why that person might be having a loud party or cutting across those 3 lanes of traffic. To have compassion even when the other person might not even deserve it. Obviously we still shouldn’t be putting other people’s lives in danger no matter what might be going on with us but I think it was a great lesson for me.

Now I’m being tested…really tested. The guy that hit me did put my life in danger. He made a decision without thinking about how it would affect other people and myself and my car got in the way. I can only hope that what happened was a wake-up call for him. That that one time you’re in a hurry or decide to make an illegal left hand turn in front of people, it could have serious consequences. Trying to make something easier for yourself could make things harder for someone else.

At the end of the day, I can’t control other people. I can’t control whether or not this guy is going to learn from what he did and if he’ll drive accordingly in the future. I can’t control whether or not other people do careless stuff or live only for themselves, not thinking about how it might affect others. But what I can do is control how I feel. I can control how I choose to go forward in life. I might be mad today but I make the choice not to be mad at the guy who hit me, even if it does turn out he doesn’t have insurance and I have to go through a lot of hassle to get my settlement and claim taken care of. Even if it turns out that for the second time in my life, the police let an uninsured drive go and didn’t cite them. I will not live my life in fear and I will not live it in anger. I’m very lucky I survived the accident I was in and wasn’t hurt worse.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Philomena but if you want a true lesson in forgiveness, you should see it and read her amazing story. I won’t ruin it just in case you haven’t seen it and are planning to, but she was put through hell and had one of the most terrible things happen to her by women who were supposed to be holy. Yet she still forgave them. She didn’t hold any anger in her heart. It’s one of the most inspiring stories I’ve ever heard. So if she can do that, then I certainly can forgive someone who wronged me. It may not always be easy but life is short and I don’t want to spend the rest of mine holding grudges. I want to spend it being happy and being around the people I love.

14 thoughts on “Lesson in Forgiveness

  1. I hope your thoughts are changing to planning that trip to Ireland. Timing is good, and you could share more of these good thoughts with friends along the way:-)

    1. Hi Ross. I wish! Going back to Ireland is definitely high up on my priority list but my best friend is getting married this year so international travel is going to have to wait until next year. After everything happened this week though, I plan on packing in as much travel as I can!

  2. Hi, this is Heidrun again… I am so happy that you are safe.

    Isn’t it funny that just before the accident you were talking about real friends, the amazing thing is the number of friends that were there to help when they heard of the accident!

    Life has a way of affirming itself. Little miracles happen all the time. I know it will be hard to forgive the other man who caused the accident. Just try to pray for him. Send care and understanding his way. Forgiveness will come when you are ready.

    Ask for Grace and Patience. I can’t tell you how many time they have helped me when I was helpless. Like when my hous burned to the ground. Or when my oldest son died at the age of 28. Life always has burdens. They can be heavy or light, depending on how we react to them

    Perhaps I have rambled on too long, please excuse me for that.


    1. Thank you Heidrun! I’m happy I’m safe too. My car accident is such a small thing to deal with in comparison to what you’ve been through. If you can make it through what you have, then we all can make it through whatever life might throw at us 🙂

    2. You are not rambling at all! Thank you for sharing your story. You sharing your story will impact people in a meaningful way whether you know it or not. Your story leaves an imprint in our hearts and you will be granted inner peace because you have a heart of gold. You will be in my prayers for your inner strength, health and wellness. Godspeed!

  3. Moments throughout our day Life presents us with lessons and treasures. Compassion and forgiveness as you stated are powerful tools to have in our toolkit in this journey of life. I was involved in a five car accident in May 2013 and I am still dealing with the claims and settlement even though I was not at fault. I just picked up food for the homeless and it was 9am when I glanced at the clock while waiting patiently at the intersection, Suddenly 2 cars crashed into each other and one of the cars came full speed and hit me head on. The only thing that stopped the out of control car was crashing into my car. Minor damages to the car next to me and pushed my car passed one lane into another car in the left turn lane. I had many encounters with death and this was one of them. Learning to embrace death made me appreciate every second of life. After speaking to the husband of the driver next to me I realized why I was there. On that day was their 1st anniversary. If I was not present at that moment the driver would of plummeted through and most likely would of killed her at that speed and it could of very well been her death anniversary. Thank you for your inspirational stories and sharing your various challenges along your journey life. Sharing your story may make you feel vulnerable at times or exposed but in essence you are opening your heart speaking the truth and sharing it with the world which reverberates in our hearts. We are all in this together. We are not human DOings, We are human BEings that can support each other and love each other to bring everyone to their highest potential…and to “Just BE”…living in the highest truth. You may have helped many people along the way and saved someone form taking their life just by speaking your story…This is more than history it is HerStory… your story… that will echo in our hearts and minds. As you say we can choose to decide how we feel. Stress and challenges will always be encountered but it is up to us to decide how we deal with it. Thank you Jackie.

  4. Hi Jackie, Thank you for the great blog. I, too, was very angry at one point. I was angry about how people would hurt each other ( both verbally and physically) and show not an ounce of care in the world. I often wondered how they sleep at night. Forgiveness is probably one of the hardest, yet most liberating thing you can give to a person. It is something that I still work on daily and to be quite honest, I don’t think I am there yet. I am not ready to forgive the people that have hurt me. Your story is truly inspirational and will serve me well in my own journey in life. I will definitely check out Philomena! Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you all the best!

    1. Thank you Bebe, I really appreciate that! Forgiveness is something that’s always been hard for me too and there are definitely those people in (or out) of my life that I haven’t been able to forgive either. Sometimes I think it might be one of those lifetime processes to learn. All the best to you too!

  5. Hi, this is Caesarinne Sprianu from the MOT program at Loma Linda University. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your thoughts on something like this. I sometimes struggle with the same thing, understanding that at the end of the day, we can only control how we react to everything happening around us. Very inspiring post!

    1. Thank you Caesarinne! It’s definitely something I’m working on on a daily basis (even before the car accident). I’m really glad this struck a cord with you 🙂

  6. Hi Jackie,
    As soon as I started reading this post, it brought me straight back to a car accident I was in about 5 years ago. A 16 year old girl with only her permit crashed into the back of my car while stopped at a light. I am very thankful nobody in the accident was severely injured but I recall experiencing similar emotions to what you’ve expressed in this blog. I remember after the shock wore away I just kept asking myself “Why me?”…”Why was she driving her best friend around illegally?”…”Why didn’t she brake?” etc. I was not only full of anger but also remember going up and down an emotional roller coaster over the weeks following.

    Looking back now, I believe it is healthy to express and feel these emotions. Letting them out and acknowledging how you feel whether they seem “right” or “wrong” is just simply part of the process. I greatly appreciate how you are so open to sharing these emotions and don’t seem afraid to admit that there is a process to forgiveness, and one that typically does not come easy.

    I am truly thankful and blessed that nobody in the accident was physically hurt and am very glad that you are okay as well! Thank you for sharing your wonderful insights!

    Best, Shannon

    1. Thank you so much Shannon. That just made my day! It’s funny you mentioned the roller coaster of emotions too because I was that ride full force today! I actually broke down at work from being overwhelmed with everything I have to do because of the accident and how far behind I’ve gotten at my 2 jobs because I was basically on bed rest all of last week. I have an amazing boss who told me something very similar to what you said, she said to not beat myself up for feeling all the emotions I’m feeling post-accident. That it’s totally normal to be sad or angry when something so traumatic happens. I think I’ve been trying to minimize it too much and tell myself to “suck it up” because it could have been a lot worse and even though it definitely could have, I shouldn’t try deny the feelings I have about it so thanks very much for the reminder on that 🙂

  7. Hi! I’m a MOT student at Loma Linda University. I’m sorry about your car accident. My mom was in a similar accident and it really traumatized her. She suffered from whiplash and her car was almost totaled. She had to miss work for a while and go to physical therapy. Every time she drives on that street she’s reminded of that day and is now super vigilant everywhere she drives to. That driver didn’t have insurance and tried to blame the accident on my mom when he talked to the police officer. Fortunately my mom was found to be not at fault and she got some money to fix her car and loss of wages. Yes she was upset at the other driver but she forgave him even with all the hassles he put her through. At the end of the day she was happy that she was still alive and that the other driver was ok. Thank you for sharing. wish you all the best!

    Grace Leung

    1. Thank you Grace! I’m so sorry your mom had to go through all that. It’s definitely been a tough process. The day of, even in the ER, I felt pretty good. I wasn’t angry and was just happy to be alive. But as all of the hassle of dealing with the accident has increased. waiting for the police report and wondering what the guy said to the police officer since I was in the ambulance at the time…all the stress has made it a lot harder to forgive him that’s for sure. I hope I can come out of it as bravely as your mom though and ultimately forgive him completely.

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