“Letting Go of the Hurt,” Ensign, Apr. 2012, 60–61
General conference weekend in April 2007 started out normally enough. I looked forward to being spiritually fed by the talks from leaders of the Church and by the music of the choirs.
Following breakfast on Sunday morning, my son and I sat in our living room and turned on the television. I was ready to listen and to learn. What I was not ready for was just how quickly I would hear something that impressed me deeply. President James E. Faust (1920–2007) spoke first and began his talk with a story of an Amish community in Pennsylvania.
He recounted how a man had stormed into a school and without any provocation shot 10 girls, killing five and wounding five. He then took his own life. President Faust said that although the violence shocked and hurt members of the community, they chose to immediately forgive.1
As I continued to listen to President Faust describe “the healing power of forgiveness,” my thoughts turned to my own life. Twenty years before, in October 1986, my husband had left me and our seven young children. The decisions he made in his life changed our lives forever. The children were devastated. I was overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions and had no idea how we were going to make it.
We faced serious financial struggles, and I became responsible to handle them. I was angry, hurt, and unsure of myself and my abilities. Although I went on to raise our children, I felt a weight upon my shoulders that never went away. Even many years later, my spirit still felt heavy with hurt and anger toward my ex-husband. As I continued to listen to President Faust’s message, however, I felt prompted to send my ex-husband an e-mail. He and I had not communicated for many years, but I got his e-mail address from one of our sons and began writing.
I asked my ex-husband to please forgive me for the years that I had not been able to let go of my hurt. I told him that I wanted him to be able to have a relationship with our children—especially our son who still lived at home. To my surprise, the words came easily, and the faster I typed, the lighter I felt. I finished the letter and clicked “Send.” In the days that followed, I felt lighter and happier than I had in years.
About a week after I sent that e-mail, I received a kind response from my ex-husband. Although the response itself didn’t change anything, receiving it added to the positive feelings I already felt. In addition, our children were blessed through this experience.
I am grateful for the Atonement in our lives, for the potential for change, and for the power of forgiveness. I am also grateful for prophets and apostles who teach and remind us of these sacred truths.