“You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” How many times had she heard that old cliché and thought nothing of it? It had never meant anything to her, but now that the words struck a chord inside her, maybe there was some truth to it after all.
Now, a year after her entire life felt as if it came to a screeching halt, Becca sat alone in her empty house with nothing but memories of a love forever gone. Oh, what she wouldn’t do to have her beloved husband—dear, sweet man that he was—here with her. Todd was the man of her dreams, her knight in shining armor. They had met their freshman year of college and instantly Becca had fallen in love with tall, handsome Todd Mathewson. He was everything she had wanted and more—kind, responsible, and courteous, always opening doors for her and giving her flowers “just because.” This had even continued during their marriage, from the day they said their vows to the terrible day Todd had died in a tragic car accident. When news came to her that her husband had been killed by a careless driver, Becca had been grieved and enraged that such a man could walk away without even a scratch when Todd died. She had sworn never to forgive that hateful man who had taken her husband’s life. Not in a million years.
The sound of the doorbell startled Becca out of her reveries and she stood, wondering just who could be coming to visit. When she opened the door, however, there was no one there. “Hello?” she called. But there was no answer. Shrugging, she was just about to go back inside when she noticed an envelope lying on the door mat. “Where did this come from?” she wondered aloud, stooping to pick it up. There was no return address on the front, which she found odd; the least someone could have done was leave their name. She opened the envelope, unfolded the paper that was inside, and began reading.
Dear Mrs. Mathewson,
You don’t know me, but I know you. One year ago, I was on my way home from work. I was being careless that day, I’m afraid; I was tired because I had been working the late shift and was not thinking straight. That was my state of mind when I ran a stop sign and struck the car that your husband was in.
It was not my intention to kill anyone. Please understand this, Mrs. Mathewson. I have never hit anyone, not even with my fist, in my life. I regret that day every single moment of my life. You have to believe me. I can’t even live with myself anymore.
If you would like—and it’s all right if you don’t want to—I would like to meet you in person so I can express just how truly sorry I am. If it is all right with you, would you meet me at the park just down the street from the library tomorrow at noon? Once again I’m sorry. I will be the rest of my life.
Her first instinct was to be angry. How dare this man kill her husband and a year later reappear wanting to make things right? He had to be crazy thinking she would possibly endanger herself by meeting him. She went back inside and was just about to throw the letter away when she stopped. Maybe meeting this Leon was what she needed to do. Maybe having him see just how devastated she was due to his carelessness would open his eyes. Even the opportunity to scream at him would be worthwhile.
She decided to go.
At noon the next day, Becca arrived at the park and spotted the man she figured to be Leon Granson at once. She squared her shoulders and marched over to him, prepared to give him a piece of her mind. He turned when she was not far away, and it was then she saw his eyes. He couldn’t be very old—thirty at the oldest—but his eyes belied his youth. They were tired and faded and looked as if they belonged to an eighty-year-old man who had seen a lifetime of pain. Immediately, miraculously, the fight left her.
“Mrs. Mathewson?” He was the first to speak. She nodded dumbly as he went on. “I’m Leon Granson. I’m the one who—well, the one that—” His chin quivered and he couldn’t go on. Becca knew this was her chance to let this man know of the pain he had put her through, but how could she when he himself was in so much obvious pain? She took a breath, and a Bible verse came to mind. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” It was then she realized just how short-sighted and cruel she had been, determined to never forgive a man who was just as in need of forgiveness as anyone else. At last she was able to find her voice. “Mr. Granson? I would like to ask you a question.”
He looked up, his eyes sad. “Of course,” he said weakly. His expression said he was expecting a tongue-lashing at any moment and was prepared for it.
“I want to know if you know the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Do you, Mr. Granson?”
Slowly he shook his head, confusion replacing the sadness in his eyes. Becca went on, and as she spoke a heavenly peace filled her soul. “Well, let me tell you about Him…”