There is an evil in this world. A darkness that threatens to choke out the light. It lives among us and very few would even imagine that it exists. It forces some to live in fear. It is the schoolyard bully we thought we had outgrown.
There is evil in this world and I have met it face to face.
When my wife and I split up after 13 years of marriage, 2 children and 15 years together we had to tell our children the news. It was a soul crushing experience. I will never forget the moment. Me cuddled up with my son on our nest chair, her on the couch with my daughter. As I explained that Daddy was going to go live somewhere else for awhile because we could not get along under the same roof, my son started softly sobbing while I held him in my arms. My heart broke. I continued to do my best to explain what was happening. How are a 12 year old and a 10 year old supposed to understand adult problems? I knew in that moment that this would be the most difficult thing I ever had to do in my life.
I was wrong.
On October 2, 2015 I was introduced to a malevolent evil. A demonic presence with no regard for human life. A man who would take the life of the woman I loved. A man so cowardly that he took his own life so that he did not have to face the consequences of his actions. A man whom I could never hope to understand. A man so vile that it sickens me to hear his name.
Once again I was faced with devastation and heart break. Once again I knew that this would be the most difficult thing I have ever had to face.
Once again I was wrong.
Shortly after Colleen was murdered I was directed to a parable. A story called “The Little Soul and the Sun”. This parable came at me from 3 different sources. If there is one thing I have learned through all of this is that when the universe speaks you should listen. So I did.
You can read the full story here. The Cole’s notes is that there is a little soul who approaches God excited to tell God that he “knows who he is”. God asks “Who are you”. The little soul goes on to say “I am the light”. God concurs. Soon after though the little soul realizes that knowing who he is is not enough. He wants to BE who he is. He wants to feel what it is like to be the light.
God goes on to explain that the only way for the little soul to know what it feels like to be the light is for God to surround him with darkness. He goes on to state that there is no light without dark, no up without down, no warm without cold. In order to experience anything, the exact opposite must exist.
Being “The Light” is very special God went on, explaining that it was OK to shine his light through the darkness. That it was OK to be special, keeping in mind special didn’t mean being better. God went on to ask the little soul what part of ‘special’ he would like to be.
After some thoughtful deliberation the little soul declared that he wanted to be “forgiveness”.
“That’s wonderful” God said “There’s only one problem. There is no one to forgive. I made everything perfect.”
It was then that the little soul realized a large crowd of souls had gathered around to listen to the conversation. When he looked around at all the beautiful souls he realized God was right. They were all perfect. He started to feel sad because he would never be able to experience forgiveness. It was then that a friendly soul spoke up. “I will help you” he said. “How will you do that?” the little soul asked. “I will come to you in the next lifetime and give you someone to forgive.”
When the little soul realized what it would mean for the friendly soul to give up his perfection in order to do something forgivable he asked him why he would do that. The friendly soul answered “Because I love you. I do however need you to promise me one thing”. The little soul was so excited at the prospect of experiencing forgiveness that he shouted “of course, of course. Anything, just tell me!” The friendly soul said “Always remember who I am. Remember me in my perfection”.
I am paraphrasing and do not do the parable justice at all, so please read it in it’s entirety. It is fairly short.
As I read the story for the first time, and realized what it meant, I felt like I had just been hit by a freight train. I sat there reading, heart shattered, tears streaming down my face, as the enormity of the task at hand hit me. I had to do the unthinkable. I had to do the unimaginable. I was now, for real, faced with the most difficult challenge of my life.
I had to forgive the man that took my love away. I had to forgive the man who was sent to teach me forgiveness at the cost of the woman I loved. There is no doubt through 20 plus years in business, my failed marriage, a car accident that almost took my life, a fraud scheme that almost bankrupted me and many I loved, a lifetime of good, bad and ugly with all the obstacles life had thrown my way, this is by far the most onerous task I have ever been given.
If I am to have even a whisper of equanimity, any hope of lasting peace, then I needed to release my heart of the hatred that threatened to consume me. So I shall.
Paul Joseph Jacob, I forgive you.
Many will not understand this. Many more may even criticize me for writing this. I know however that everything I have ever learned, everything that Colleen and I ever shared, every discussion we ever had has led me to this. Has helped me become the man I am today. The man that can forgive.
You see, as hard as this is, the truth is I am grateful. I am grateful that I get to be the Light. That I get to choose to be the Light and not the Dark. That I get to be Love and not Hate.
This is a crux in my life. A crossroad where I get to choose that which I want to be, the Yin or the Yang. In a world where one cannot exist without another I am glad that I get to represent good and not evil.
I will love you forever Colleen Lois Sillito and you will never leave my heart. I am grateful for what we had together. I am grateful for everything you have taught me and for everything you continue to teach me. I am a better man for your presence and the world is a better place because you were in it.
I Love You.