There are any number of well-meant platitudes online and in self-help books addressing the concept of forgiveness, but finding that word in practice in the real world isn’t so easy. And that’s all the more reason to note its bold appearance in a Nash County courthouse this week.
A June 10 traffic accident that took the life of David Warren Stone, a Rocky Mount truck driver, no doubt shattered other lives, as well. There was Stone’s family, grieving and dealing with the loss of a beloved father and husband. And there was the family of Jordan Anne Thomas, the young high school student charged with failure to yield and misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
The Stones – particularly Christopher Lee Stone, whose father died in the wreck – took the extraordinary step of urging the district attorney’s office to drop the more serious death by motor vehicle charge against Thomas. The state did so, and aside from a small fine and court costs, Thomas is free.
There can be little doubt that the teenager will carry a heavy burden on her conscience for a long time, but her young life will move forward, thanks to the kindness, understanding and – most of all – forgiveness of Stone’s family.
Few of us can imagine the private grief endured by either party involved in the case, but the Stones’ decision stands as a lesson for all of us.
As Paul Boese, a Kansas businessman, once famously noted, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
Those comforting words barely do justice to the enormity of the Stones’ actions. Bless the family who put aside their loss long enough to open a door of hope to a young girl – and to the rest of us, as well.