I Wonder…

I recently watched Crown Heights, a drama based on the true story of Colin Warner who was convicted of a murder he did not commit, resulting in 21 years behind bars, 21 years of horrific injustice, 21 years of a changed life. The story is also (and equally) about his best friend, Carl King, who never gave up on him. King was the one who finally forced justice, who fought for Warner’s final release.

“If the label doesn’t fit you, then fight it. Or you’ll live it out.”

—Colin Warner

Warner’s story involves a word that I’ve been dissecting lately: Forgiveness. What does forgiveness truly mean? Not tritely. But truly. How does it look for those who have fallen victim to injustice? Or for those who were simply born into injustice? Is “moving on” a singular decisive action? Or will it evolve over a life time?

Warner could have pleaded guilty as he was pressured to do, and possibly received a reduced sentence. But he wasn’t guilty. And so, he fought the label.

I wonder, can forgiveness allow room for fighting…for one’s life, name, and dignity? Can it understand that pain needs processing? That forgiving injustice could take as long as finding justice? That forgiveness is bigger and deeper than just moving on? I wonder if forgiveness understands that “not seeking revenge” also simultaneously means seeking self. Again and again and again.

I wonder.

2 thoughts on “I Wonder…

  1. What I appreciate about forgiveness is that while it might have one dictionary definition, it has a multitude of meanings to people. What it means to me might be totally different than what it means to you.

    On another note, I cannot imagine 21 years in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. How do you maintain your sanity and faith in the justice system?

  2. I’m so sorry I’m just now responding to you. I did not receive notification of your message. At any rate, thank you for your thoughts. And yes, forgiveness can be quite fluid. And like you, I cannot imagine 21 years in prison either for a crime not committed. That forces a lot of introspection for sure, good or bad. He seemed to have chosen the higher road, which made the movie even better.

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