Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day of Forgiveness 2012

This time of year already, I can't believe it. How has two years gone by so quickly yet dragged on ever so painfully? Some think that after a certain amount of time, one is "done grieving." That is certainly not true and is certainly not for anyone to decide. The days of sobbing with an aching heart have become further apart but the pain is still there. I still burst out in random times. The second year has not been much "easier" than the first as there have been a whole new set of circumstances. Like I can no longer say, "Last year at this time, Mikkie was with us....." and just realizing that the more time passes the more my memory starts to fade. Though some things are crystal clear and I will never forget, there are some things that if I haven't written them down, or taken a picture or recorded a video... it would probably slip my memory. Thank goodness I recorded as much as I could in my journal and on here right after; though half of my journal during that time went missing and is now lost somewhere in the cyber world. I'm still grieving over that as well. 

There are a couple reasons I started this "Day of Forgiveness". 

First, to do something in memory and honor of Mikayla; something that would mean a great deal to her and also make the world a better place- which is just what she did... she made the world a better place, and life is no longer the same without her.

Along with that, I knew that by focusing my energy on something positive, it would make August 14th a little more bearable of a day and not dreaded as it has been.

I also did it because I needed to forgive myself. All the guilt and regret I felt was weighing me down and I was begging her to forgive me for not being a better mother, for not being there when she needed me most.... When I realized that she has already forgiven me and that I needed to forgive myself, I started working on and praying that I could forgive myself. People may say there's nothing to forgive, that it was an accident and it was her time to go, etc, etc... but to move forward in this process, I needed to forgive myself. How can I truly forgive others if I can't give myself that same mercy? The one who is the hardest and most in need of forgiveness is ourselves. 

So, as this day approaches here very soon, I invite anybody and everybody to help observe this Day of Forgiveness in memory of our sweet angel, Mikayla. To do so, participate in all or any of the following:

* Think of someone who you need to forgive or need to seek forgiveness from and make it an earnest, sincere goal to free yourself from that burden.
* Release a *white* balloon into the sky as you think of that person. 
Or just release a white balloon in memory of Mikkie :)
* Send me experiences of forgiveness, pictures of you releasing the balloons. Totally optional, but if you feel inclined, I would love to read/see your experiences on August 14th and share them (with your approval of course) on this blog to help inspire others! Email to

I chose white balloons because:
White symbolizes purity, truth, perfection... While none of us will ever be perfect in this life, that is what we are striving for. I read that how the color white affects us mentally and physically is:
- aids mental clarity
- encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles
- evokes purification of thoughts or actions
- enables fresh beginnings
How suiting.

I encourage you to read the following as you keep in mind the name of the person you seek to forgive.

This talk by President Uchtdorf is just amazing and inspired. I believe it was made for this day.

Forgiveness for our sins comes with conditions. We must repent, and we must be willing to forgive others. Jesus taught: “Forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not … [stands] condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin”

Of course, these words seem perfectly reasonable—when applied to someone else. We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. And we certainly don’t like it when people judge us. But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous and our judgment as reliable and only appropriate.

The moment we judge someone else, he explained, we condemn ourselves, for none is without sin.

When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive—as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness—is the person looking back at us in the mirror.

When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: STOP IT! We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children.

“Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
 We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? Should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?

Is this difficult to do? Yes, of course.
Forgiving ourselves and others is not easy. In fact, for most of us it requires a major change in our attitude and way of thinking—even a change of heart.

Jesus said it is easy to love those who love us; even the wicked can dothat. But Jesus Christ taught a higher law. “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath from our eyes, allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us: as flawed and imperfect mortals who have potential and worth far beyond our capacity to imagine. Because God loves us so much, we too must love and forgive each other.

In a world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. But before we do so, let us remember the words of the One who is our Master and model: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”1

Let us forgive. Let us talk peacefully with each other. Let us be kind. Let the love of God fill our hearts.
There is enough heartache and sorrow in this life without our adding to it through our own stubbornness, bitterness, and resentment. We are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way. 
Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.
There is no true forgiveness without forgetting. 

Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.

Remember: in the end, it is the merciful who obtain mercy.


Thanks ahead of time to all who decide to join me in honoring our Mikalya with this day I declare National Day of Forgiveness, which I believe can make the world a better place.


Erica and Dan Kiefer said...

I think this is an incredible idea and what a wonderful take on a day that can be so painful. thank you for sharing this with us! While I do not know you, I will be thinking of you this day.

Dianne said...

Thank you for sharing this with all of us! We send our love and prayers and know that you will be with your sweet little girl again!

Ashlee said...

I love this idea Laura! I'm excited to tell this to my children and take advantage of the opportunity to teach forgiveness. I just love you guys and feel so blessed to learn from your faith. Thank you for your wonderful example to my family.