I first heard the story of Steven McDonald in 2008 during the HCPT Trust Mass. He was a New York police officer, shot in the face, throat and body while on duty in 1984. He spent 18 months in hospital.
He was able to forgive the man who shot him. Steven wrote to him and eventually the man called from prison and apologised. Sadly they never met as 3 days after being released from prison Shavod Jones was killed in a motorcycle accident.
I forgave Shavod because I believe the only thing worse than receiving a bullet in my spine would have been to nurture revenge in my heart. Such an attitude would have extended my injury to my soul, hurting my wife, son, and others even more. It’s bad enough that the physical effects are permanent, but at least I can choose to prevent spiritual injury.
Again, I have my ups and downs. Some days, when I am not feeling very well, I can get angry. I get depressed. There have been times when I even felt like killing myself. But I have come to realize that anger is a wasted emotion…
Of course, I didn’t forgive Shavod right away. It took time. Things have evolved over fourteen years. I think about it almost every day. But I can say this: I’ve never regretted forgiving him.
Read more about Steven's life <here>
During the Trust Mass in 2008, Steven read this poem by Peta Crane:
You Are Very Special
In all the world there is nobody like you.
Since the beginning of time, there has never been another person like you.
Nobody has your smile, your eyes, your hands, your hair.
Nobody owns your voice, your handwriting, your unique way of communicating with others.
Nobody can paint like you.
Nobody has your taste for food, music, dance or art.
Nobody in the world sees things as you do.
In all time, there has never been anyone who laughs in exactly your way, and what makes you
laugh or cry or think may have a totally different response in another.
So, You’re Special.
You’re different from any other person who has ever lived in the history of the world.
You are the only one in the whole world who has your particular set of abilities.
There is always someone who is better at one thing or another.
Every person is your superior in at least one way.
But nobody in this world can reach the quality of the combination of your talents, your feelings. Through all eternity, no one will ever love, walk, talk, think or act exactly like you.
Remember, You’re Special.
You’re rare, and in all rarity there is enormous value.
You’re Special, and it is no accident you are.
Please realize that God made you for a special purpose.
God has a job for you to do that nobody else can do as well as you can.
Out of the billions of applicants, only one is qualified.
Only one has the unique and right combination of what it takes, and that one is you.
You Are Very Special!
Poetry text reproduced from HCPT Group 101
Image courtesy of NY Daily News