I had a whopper of a dream last night. The setting was at the civil trial, but I was back in the late 1800’s. I know why I time-travelled. It had everything to do with watching the documentary “Killing Lincoln” the prior evening. I marveled at how swift the justice system once work in my country.
It’s a sad statement about this country when Ryan is exactly three years and five months removed from his attack and still has four-and-a-half months until trial. Oh, and that’s if the trial isn’t delayed which is not at all uncommon. Anyhow, that’s just the cause of my dream and not what I’m writing about today.
I realized that I now seldom think about Ryan’s attackers.
Certainly not like I once did. We moved on. We did this in spite of them. Oh, yes, I still dislike them and their families. Probably always will too. Still, we did this without me ever believing Austin Vantrease or Jonathan May sincerely apologized to Ryan. It came without recognizable forgiveness; something that only Ryan can give and right now he can not offer it, even if he wanted. No matter if Ryan is capable of forgiving, it doesn’t diminish their accountability. Not before the eyes of the law. Never before my eyes. Unless, that is, Ryan is fully restored and they provide for him without condition. They’re on the hook for the rest of their lives, I’d suspect.
Hell, they still haven’t completed their criminal sentence. Shocker! Vantrease is in the Huttonsville Correctional Center serving his felony sentence. May is out of jail, but still owes the criminal restitution.
I guess the lesson here is that forgiveness — either by oneself or another close to oneself — is not required for a person to move on. I knew this all along, but for some reason people believe this can not be the case. My opinion? It just makes people feel better to hear that one person has forgiven another. It makes everything right in their mind. It reduces the level of stress.
Let’s face it, it’s easy to advise someone to give forgiveness. Not quite so simple for the wronged. Sometimes not even possible. I guess being on the other side of a coma might be one of them. I hope Ryan can someday tell us the answer to that.
I will tell you that it took time, and a lot of it, to get to this point. It happened without me even knowing it. I took many dark moments when I was sure the sun would never rise on us again. I had to accept this and then find ways to function in the pitch-blackness of despair. The sun is still below the horizon for us, but we now know how to feel our way along. As we wait for our dawn to break we will be courageous, strong, and unshaken each time we bump into those unknown monsters that thrive in (and on) deep, dark despair.
It the best we can do.
This, my friends, is a life’s lesson I wish I never needed to learn. Ignorance most certainly would have been bliss.
Thank you for being by our side. It would be impossible without you to not let me sink beyond rescue. How many times have you pulled me from the wreckage? Too many to remember. At least thousands, I swear. So, the next time you think to tell me that I’m inspirational you must know the truth. It is you who is inspirational. How easy it would have been for me to curl in the fetal position and give up… but you would have nothing to do with that. You demanded that I step up because this is bigger than just me.
Too much is at stake.