Joseph (the favorite son of Jacob as described in Genesis) was hated, kidnapped, almost murdered by his brothers, then sold as a slave (usually a death sentence in the ancient world). When reunited with his brothers, in a position to punish his brothers for such treachery, he instead forgives and embraces them (Genesis 45:1-15).
In the Sunday Morning Forum at St. Margaret’s we have been talking about this kind of forgiveness, forgiveness of “biblical proportions.” We have wondered if such examples of forgiveness are current in our own day. In our blog “Hear what the Spirit is saying” I have shared stories which directly tell us: “Yes, such stories are being “written” in our own day.”
Here is one of those stories. I share it because for each of us confronting death, even an expected and peaceful death, the grieving which follows has the potential to imprison us, weaken us, even destroy us; the grieving also has the potential, as witnessed by these two men, to create something new, noble, even beautiful. The choice is ours.
Two Fathers and Forgiveness
Before the men sat in the kitchen, a humble place for such an event, they had walked in the garden. Two fathers, both raised in Catholic schools, both divorced from their children’s mothers, both who helped raise a son and a daughter, talked for more than an hour.
That the meeting took place seems miraculous. One man owns a business and had traveled from middle America. The other, in whose house they met, works in a New York state factory. They want the same thing: to save the son of the New York man from execution.
The father from Oklahoma, Emmett E. “Bud” Welch, had buried his daughter, Julie-Marie, on a 1995 spring day.
New York state resident William McVeigh is the father of the man sentenced to die for killing Julie-Marie and 167 others on April 19, 1995, in the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.
May you be blessed in your grieving, may you be blessed in your walk with one who is grieving, to fashion something beautiful, an enduring testimonial to the love you have known and the truth you believe.