Monday, April 03, 2006

Whirlwind...



----Four years ago the furniture in my living room got rearranged so that Chip and I could sit down for a two hour interview with a producer from the Oprah Show. I had emailed a short note in response to the question posed on the Oprah website asking, "Have you forgiven a horrible crime?" I had no idea we would be taping video the next day...and then be whisked off to Chicago to share our story in studio with Oprah and her audience the next day. It all happened so fast. I do remember how gracious and courteous everyone of her staff were to me and my family. I remember how warm and genuine Oprah felt when we met her onstage for the first time. She seemed so sincere in what she had to say to us...it didn't "feel" like just a tv show.
I've watched our show "Incredible Stories of Forgiveness" several times since it originally aired in April 2002. I, of course, wish I could tape a do-over show now, four years later, having grown and experienced and lived- with joy again- because I think it would be a whole new story. I look so sad and serious- it doesn't even really look like me when I watch that tape.
I guess that it's a true testament that what we said about forgiveness and our ability to look forward to the rest of our lives was actually true in our hearts as well. I think there were people who doubted what Chip and I were saying back then. They didn't understand how we could truly forgive someone who claimed the life of Teagan. They didn't think that we would actually live out what we were claiming in our lives.
But here we are, four years later, and the fact that we were able to forgive and move on has been the singlemost important factor in finding purpose and joy and renewal in life. We believe, without a doubt, that we will see Teagan again in Heaven someday. We know that it wasn't fair that she was killed so young, and in the way she died. Yet, we found that forgiveness allowed us to start the healing process that our hearts so desprately needed after our tragedy. We found we weren't so consumed with anger about what happened. Sure, there are times when we look back and say we wish things hadn't happened the way they did. We were very happy and blessed with our lives back then. We have struggled and yelled and cried and hated our reality at times...but in those moments we've learned new things. We've learned that you can turn your pain into something positive. We've learned that if you are willing to believe, in the midst of hurt, good things can happen- they will. We've learned that life has it's dark moments- but they only last as long as you keep hanging on to them.
When I look back at all that has happened, I see that we've had choices all along the way- some of them have not been very easy choices to make. In each instance, when we've chosen the path of love or hope or simply looked ahead, instead of looking back, we've experienced growth, contentment and goodness. It's still amazing to me that we have that kind of power within ourselves- that we can in essence "create our own destiny." Chip and I had no idea we were "writing" a story that would one day be told to a global audience. We had no idea that simply saying you forgive someone, and then actually living the reality of those words could impact our own lives and countless others.
I am grateful, as I reflect on that opportunity that somehow came our way, through Oprah and her staff. It was a whirlwind doing the inhome video, shooting various places around our town, flying to Chicago and then being on stage with Oprah the next day. It happened so fast- and it was a wonderful experience. Especially now as I reflect upon it, years later, and see just how far we've come!
{If you'd like to see some highlights and a video clip of our show, go to Oprah.com and do a search using the words, Incredible Stories of Forgiveness} And I still remember being able to eat breakfast the morning we were headed to the studio to tape with Oprah. I had Vanilla Bean French Toast...it was warm and delicious! I can't believe that in itself didn't have me smiling on camera more- but I guess my emotions took over. You can bet I'd have some smiles if I were on Oprah today! That's my Nitty.Gritty. trip down memory lane for this Monday. Have a sweet one.

12 comments:

manababies said...

And a great post for Monday indeed. Ever since I found your blog, I've found myself checking back often. And it's no wonder. I now have a smile on my face that will likely last me through the day. :)

Vee said...

you are such an awesome soul.
thanks for sharing your faith and testaments to God's work
Vee

Kelli said...

you are truly amazing...the power of God really is AMAZING to get you through something like that.

karen said...

Isn't it cool to see how far you've come? Thanks for the good monday thoughts.

Suzelle said...

WOW !!! Jody.....you are so special and amazing. Your words are so powerful :)

sweet sunshine said...

You should write a book, you are such an awesome writer. Your use of words are just so touching and inspirational. Everytime I read one of your posts, I find myself getting up to grab kleenex. Not because they are sad, but mostly filled with joy, and because you are an inspiration to everyone, especially those who have had horrible tragedies occur in their lives. You have found the strength to get through some tough times. I, like so many others probably do, envy you.

laura said...

you really are amazing. thank you so much for sharing and being so willing to be open with the world.

Michelle B said...

Oprah just might be interested in revisiting your story, to show how far you've come. It's an amazing story.

Wendy Smedley said...

Thank you for sharing your story with everyone- you are indeed an inspiration to me-
Wendy

Kerry said...

Jody...

Thanks so much for helping me see that it really is the small things.

It's amazing that we've both come through this process as 'whole' as we are!

:)Kerry

Suzanne said...

Thank you for sharing!!

Elizabeth said...

What Michelle said above--I think you should contact Oprah and see if they'll do a follow-up, especially for the reasons that you've shared with us, primarily that you've had a lot of time and are still forgiving. Not only is it an important part of the grieving/forgiving process, I think it would reinforce that to so many people... that it is an ongoing decision, not one that you made and that was that.