Anger towards our father loitered around my subconscious like an annoying visitor that refused to leave. But, by way of death row, a persuasive argument presented itself convincing me to open the door, usher the useless guest through, and lock it out forever.
The first time I read David’s last letter it was from a stubborn, obstinate frame of mind seeing no benefit to the reasoning behind the words. Months after he was executed I re-read the letter. This time the magnitude of the grace and forgiveness David wrote about overwhelmed, humbled, and put me in my place. My unshakeable stance to even consider our father could be forgiven smacked of arrogant posturing by the realization that, any forgiveness I could ever bestow on anyone was puny and irrelevant in comparison to God’s grace and mercy.
David’s letter in part read:
“Lynda, old feelings of bitterness on anyone’s part only serves to destroy a blessing called “ability to forgive”. That blessing isn’t anything to take for granted. Believe me anger is sweet to the tongue but bitter to the stomach and is one of Satan’s many snares to hell.”
“Here on the Texas death row I see the results everyday of fear and bitterness only magnified about a thousand times. Here, men beaten down by false expectations of themselves, stripped naked of hope, spiritually squirming and desperately clinging to the very deceptions that put them here. A person that expresses compassion risks ridicule. But there’s strength in what these here consider weakness. I mean if wallowing in bitterness and anger is being tough then I’ve been the toughest out of 250 here on death row. Hey, if God can forgive me for all I’ve done, I can certainly forgive our dad.”
“I love my brothers and sister, always have. I just never learned to love right but, Jesus has taken care of that also. Thanks for being there.”
Love you, David
From that letter I learned if I was to believe God’s grace and mercy was granted to David, and I did believe it, I had to believe my father was afforded the same. I couldn’t have it both ways. As with the inmate on the gurney, the matter was between God and my father. At the last minute he may asked to be forgiven. God doesn’t care how long it takes or where we find HIM, HE only cares that we do.
My life was touched and changed through an unimaginable circumstance, from a place I would have never guessed possible. Everything I really needed to know I learned from deathrow.