My husband and I just returned from a five-day road trip to see family and friends. We were in the car 24 hours of the trip. The first hour or so going and the first hour or so returning is always full of good conversation and planning. The next hours could be long and monotonous if not for the fact that I am blessed with the ability to read in a moving car. And so my husband and I always choose an entertaining novel to hold our interest during the long miles of travel. He drives, and I read out loud.
This trip’s novel? The Invisable Wall by Harry Bernstein. It’s a true story about a young boy growing up in Lancashire England during the early 1900’s. His family was beyond poor, but through ‘arry’s eyes we see how his mother held their little family together through devoted love and her optimistic determination to rise above their poverty.
It was the father in the narrative that frustrated us. He was mean and selfish and calloused to what his role could and should have been in the lives of his little family. As I read my husband commented several times, “Why can’t this man see what he’s doing to his family?” Or, “He’s not allowing himself or his family to be happy.”
The father’s downfall was not allowing himself to forgive and forget the pain of his own childhood. He could not overcome the bitter memories. They filled his heart with anger instead of forgiveness. As a result he robbed himself of the opportunity to bless the lives of his own family. He created a divide so wide and deep that he created his own prison on his own emotional island.
The lesson of this touching novel? Forgiveness can destroy or transform.
I have read that forgiveness is vital for the success of marriages and families. It is a key that opens locked doors. It provides one of our best hopes for a happy family.
There are no families made of perfect individuals. We all make mistakes. We have all been wounded, and we all have wounded others. Forgiveness is a healer that can get us through the most difficult of circumstances. ‘arry’s father turned to alcohol rather than forgive his own parents. ‘arry’s mother forgave and chose to bless her family with love, hope and faith in a brighter future. That is a lesson to be learned and lived.