Archive for April, 2012
Man’s Family Killed by Intoxicated Driver; Forgiver Wants World to Know the Other Is “Not a Monster”
Gary Weinstein, a jeweler in the Detroit area, recently met the man who was convicted of driving while intoxicated and killing Mr. Weinstein’s wife and two sons. The convicted man is now in a jail north of Detroit. Mr. Weinstein has asked to speak with the man’s children in the hope of bringing some healing to them. He wants to interact with the man “…so that the world will know he’s not a monster.”
Fifty-one weeks after Tom Wellinger killed Gary Weinstein’s family, the jeweler decided to accompany his attorneys to a meeting with Wellinger at the Oakland County Jail.
“They did preliminary questions, and then my attorney said, ‘You got any questions for him?’ ” Weinstein recalled. “I hadn’t really prepared.”
So he asked the only thing that mattered: “How’s your kids?”
And in that moment, they were what they were: two family men who lived within a mile of each other, whose names were on the same page in the Farmington Hills phone book, two fathers whose children attended the same schools — until Wellinger took Weinstein’s away forever.
Forgiveness is hard work. I sometimes refer to it as “surgery of the heart.” No one looks forward to the process of surgery, but when people look beyond the procedure to what lies ahead once healing occurs, it is easier to bear.
The process of forgiveness includes bearing pain and finding meaning in suffering. It requires pain, emotional pain, as we look directly at another’s injustice and struggle to see him or her as a person, just as I-the-forgiver am a person.
The joy comes, I think, in triumphing through a challenging process and becoming stronger once the process is complete. You stand stronger because you have not let injustice defeat you.
You stand stronger because you are now more capable of receiving the other back into your life, if he or she can be trusted. You may play a part in this person’s positively changed ways as you stand strong.
You stand stronger because you know you have a way of meeting the next injustice, and the next, and the next after that.
Having a new heart as a result of forgiving and becoming stronger and helping others get stronger is a cause for joy.
My father left our family when I was little and never came back. He let me grow up without him. I thought when I became an adult that maybe he was just too weak–no courage–to hang in there with all the responsibilities. Then I found out that he remarried and has children in the new marriage. This was really hard on me and I am still struggling to forgive him. It would have been easier if my first impression was right, that he lacked courage. So, I am trying to forgive him even with this new information. I do see him as confused and he missed out on my brother and me growing up. He may live to regret that. I hope I can forgive enough to talk with him if he contacts us. That is my goal now, to be able to do that if he shows up.