Can compassion go hand in hand with forgiveness? I asked myself that very question this weekend after a series of events touched my soul and sparked the question. And, this all centered around death, an event in life that is “eventual”. Why can’t we focus and remember the simple celebration of life when death presents itself?
The loss of a loved one for very close friends of mine has granted me the privilege to watch the process from the outside even though I was in the same space. I saw grief mingled with forgiveness; grief mixed with the sadness that the loss brings. I cannot possible imagine how such a loss feels: the loss of a child, a brother, a son, a friend.
This weekend I watched an inconsolable woman cry from grief until her tears ran dry, angry at her loss. “Why me” was evident. Forgiveness was elusive. However, the compassion of those who surrounded her that night was a stirring to watch; from her friends to her family and even to the police department. From the friends who stepped in to help calm her down and listen to her, then to her family who arrived to take her home.
Lastly, the Boise Police Department, and the officers on the scene who clearly showed compassion in their faces. They found a way to help a person in need with strength that most of us do not have from day to day. And to think this is their job! It was a remarkable scene.
Everyone present that night understood without a shadow of a doubt about the situation and forgiveness was an unspoken act. It was a privilege to watch the scene unfold dramatically and yet come to a collaborative conclusion. So, yes compassion can come hand in hand with forgiveness.