Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pep Talk: "Let 'Em Go!"

“Oh my gosh, what are you doing?”

Those were the simple, direct and, probably, bewildered words Claire Davis asked an 18-year-old male just seconds before the popular Arapahoe High School student was shot point-blank in the forehead inside the school. Critically wounded the senior, bound for Colorado State University, would cling to life for eight days before passing.

It’s what her father Michael said during an emotional memorial service before a capacity crowd that burrowed deep in my soul for its truth: “We can all realize Claire’s last words in our own lives, by asking ourselves, in those times when we are less than loving, ‘Gosh, what am I doing?’”

A grieving father, with tears streaming down his cheeks, continued to encourage those gathered at the Denver Coliseum to honor and remember a life senselessly ended, by forgiving the perpetrator.

“Unchecked anger and rage can lead to hatred, and unchecked hatred can lead to tragedy, blindness and loss of humanity. The last thing Desiree (mother) and I would want is to perpetuate this anger, rage and hatred in connection with Claire. Claire would also not want this.”


It speaks powerfully about forgiveness. I know, simple, not easy. It does not mean a couple, family, friends and community will not always have a hole in their collective hearts for a beautiful young woman who loved life, others and riding horses to name just a few of Claire Davis’ wonderful qualities.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It means understanding that, as Mr. Davis so accurately described, allowing “anger, rage and hatred” to fester within us is not going to change the circumstances.

There are exceptions to every rule, but when has “anger, rage or hatred” ever worked, in healthy and productive fashion, for us? A good friend, long ago, unexpectedly lost his fiancee in tragic fashion. The former professional football player admits that he clung to anger and rage for a bit but finally realized, “It was eating away at my soul.”

I dunno, I’m just a simple dude from Missouri, take this for what it’s worth, but it seems like it takes far more energy to hold anger, rage and hatred within our minds, bodies and souls than just letting it go.

Every Thursday morning, in leading the chapel service for men living at the Denver Rescue Mission, we always talk about “being gentle, forgiving and never holding a grudge, especially against self. The guys will share a moment in life where another human being, or themselves, has committed an atrocious act that has, understandably, forever changed life and left them emotionally scarred. In unison, the group will encourage whomever has shared to, “Let it go!”

Where might it be time for you to just, finally, “Let it go?” Devoted readers of the weekly Pep Talk know I’ve been through two painful divorces and have a child from each marriage. While in the throes on dealing with divorce number two, during my days as a sportscaster at KCNC-TV in Denver, frequently the last commercial before I began telling the viewing audience what the heck was going on in the sports world would be promoting the company of the man who my former wife was dating and eventually married.

While settling into my chair, adjusting the microphone on my tie and placing the earpiece into the one good ear I possess, to block out the pain of hearing the commercial I would recite quietly in my mind, “Be gentle and forgiving, never hold a grudge......”

Let it go!

When the tough times hit, we’re going to have enough pain from sorrow, grief and self-doubt, why pile on with anger, rage and hatred? Nobody wins. More important, we suffer.

The road ahead for the Davis family is going to be quite challenging. I admire greatly the spirit a father and mother are displaying. It’s a wonderful way to honor their daughter and a great example for us. In all likelihood, few of us will ever experience such a traumatic and heinous moment in our lives.

Yes, we’ll have the “What the heck is going on around here?” moments. We know, life is a roller coaster. The Davis’ have given us wonderful tips for the dips.

To honor their daughter, what are we going to do? How about being gentle, forgiving and not holding a grudge? Refuse to allow anger, rage and hatred any chance to claim permanent residence in our lives.

Let ‘em go!

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