I don't know what happened to the Skizzer contest announcement that I posted two weeks ago...but let's try it again!
NOTE FROM AJ! I also chose an Honorable Mention that was more comical in nature and just a good story all around.
Thankfully Broken said...
I was a substitute teacher planning on completing a masters degree in special education. On April 24, 2003 my student brought three guns to school, he killed the principal and then himself in a cafeteria filled with 8th grade students waiting for the start of school. I left the building that day with just my life, it was like being at the epicenter of an earthquake everything around me was destroyed. I began to forgive my student the day after the shooting, often with every breath I took. For 2 1/2 years I tried to regain the joy of being in a classroom, but finally made peace with no longer teaching. I spent the first year and a half wishing he had just killed me that day and begging God to let me fall asleep and not wake up because the pain was so overwhelming, there was no escape. I finally hit the point where I just had to let go and allow my life to completely fall apart. The past five years have been excrutiating, I completely lost the person I was before the shooting. While I do not act, look or sound the same as the young mom I was before I have found a person who is much better. Rather than the faith I had before, I now have knowledge that God is real and He can redeem anything for His good. My voice has been reclaimed and I am now writing and teaching about compassion, empathy, forgiveness, grace, grief and trauma. There is no glory in murder/suicide yet we are all capable of it, we can all reach that place beyond clarity and reason. I have truly forgiven my student and the legacy I was left with is to use my new found faith, experiences and personality to challenge others to forgive especially offenders and their families.
(Thankfully...send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your address and restaurant of choice)
The most important PHYSICAL thing I lost and then found, was my engagement ring. It was a family heirloom that was passed down to me from my husband's side. It was so dainty that I was afraid to have it sized to fit me, so I wore it on my pinky and my wedding band on my ring finger. I was sick just telling him it was missing. We retraced my steps through the day and my stomach lurched when I realized that I had taken it off while having coffee with a friend. She offered me some wonderfully yummy lotion and I couldn't resist. I think I slipped the ring into the pocket of my jeans so I wouldn't forget it on the table. I imagined it had fallen out when I reached in my pocket for my car keys. So there we were, my loving husband and I, searching the gravel parking lot with flashlights hoping to catch a glimmer of a precious stone. Instead we caught the headlights of a police car coming to find out what we were doing at 10 p.m. with flashlights outside the coffee shop. We lived in a small town at the time and were friends with the police chief, so that lent us some credibility. I cried all the way home trying to think of a way to tell my MIL I lost the ring. We pulled into our driveway and as I was getting out of the car, I spotted the ring on the floor. It DID fall out of my pocket, but thankfully it fell where even a blubbering, red eyed woman could find it. This is a true story, but please don't ever tell my MIL. :)
Catch the highlights of the tour in the post below!