I’d like to share with you Katy Hutchison’s story of forgiveness here on the Gill Deacon show. This is a wonderful example of the power of forgiveness and how it can change and continue to change lives in a spiraling web of cause and effects. Ryan Aldridge murdered Katy’s husband and was sentenced to five years in prison. This tragedy could have played out in many very different ways.
Let’s see how life ended up for Ryan, Katy and her kids, and countless others who are and have been a part of their lives. Let’s also take a look at how forgiveness played a key role in this outcome. Read more at the forgiveness project website.
Now, if you missed or grazed over it the first time, here were a couple of provocative points to ponder. Let me highlight some specific quotes from the story.
Katy writes, “Taking tranquillizers and having someone look after your kids would probably be easier, but I feel compelled to do something with Bob’s legacy. I want to tell my story to help change people’s perceptions and where possible I want to do this with Ryan by my side. I’ll never understand how our universes collided but they did, and as Bob can’t make further contribution to society, then perhaps Ryan can. Whether victim or perpetrator, part of being human is rolling up our sleeves and taking an active part in repairing harm.”
Ryan shares, “Katy’s forgiveness is the most incredible thing that anyone has ever given me. It changed my life. There’s trouble every day in prison, offers of drugs and threats of fights, but I don’t give in. My life would still be full of anger and violence if it wasn’t for Katy…Doing time is easy compared to the guilt I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. But with Katy, Emma and Sam’s forgiveness, I hope that perhaps, one day, I’ll be able to forgive myself.”
Think about how this story could have ended even more tragically had Katy not chosen to forgive. In the video you may recall that this was the essential key that allowed her to move on, to recover, to be a mother to her young children who needed her. What would their lives have been like without a father and a mother? How has her forgiveness impacted their lives now and especially in the future? Think about the many lives that they will in turn impact as they grow from childhood to adulthood.
Now let’s turn to Ryan, struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, and drug and alcohol abuse in an environment where he is surrounded by the chaos of all these risk factors. How has Katy’s forgiveness impacted his life? And what about the lives of those with whom he will come in contact in the future? This has truly made the difference between a life of destruction versus a life of healing, for everyone involved.
Katy continues to forward forgiveness in her presentations to schools and communities across the globe. Tomorrow is “Pay it Forward Day.” Let’s take Katy’s example and Forward Forgiveness on a day especially dedicated to passing on goodness and kindness.