Monday, April 14, 2014

True Heroes A to Z: L is for Forgiveness?

True heroes are all around us, in our every day lives, but some people stand out. During this A-Z Challenge I hope to share several of my real life heroes, and invite you to share yours in the comments.

owe, Alva Johnson. This is a quiet, elderly woman most people might pass in a grocery store and think nothing of, but she is so much more. She married her husband at the age of 17, and became the wife of a very successful cattle rancher. Even during the depression, they had enough and were generous with others. She raised strong children and taught them each a stiff moral backbone.

Because of a childhood sickness, she battled deafness all her life. She served as an experimental patient in multiple procedures--many painful. She was proud that she'd be able to help pioneer hearing technology for those who would come after her, and despite her difficulties, I never heard her complain.

She could have.

God had taken her hearing.

She never complained.

When her husband was 65, she lost him to a heart attack because of medical malpractice.

She didn't sue.

She forgave.

She never complained.

When she was 78, she was hit by garbage truck while walking, and doctors didn't think she'd walk again. She proved them wrong.

Again, she didn't sue.

She forgave.

She never complained.

Feelings of anger can eat us up inside. They urge us to blame our lack of happiness on what we don't have, what was taken from us. Alva, "Grandma," has taught me that forgiveness is a choice. Happiness is a choice. She just keeps pressing forward, leaving behind the bad to make room for the good. She's my hero.


Time is running out. MOONLESS is on sale now for $1.99, but only for another couple weeks.

EXCERPT:

“There’s an old legend ‘bout these parts.” Their host sat his tired body down on a stool. “Dangers in the moonless night what’d make you shake in your skin.” He indicated the empty chairs across from himself and they took them willingly. “It’s said a hundred years back a wil-o’-the-wisp passed this way.”

“Like a faerie?” Alexia suggested.

“Oh sure,” he nodded, “only stronger. It liked our little town and settled down here. It aided people’s harvest, blessed our children with health, kept the cattle, stayed the plague.” He shifted. “A doctor on the hill housed the creature, fed it, took care of it and did its bidding on our behalf. Then one day he disappeared—he and his whole family.” He looked Alexia right in the eye. “A plague started upon us, things what appear on moonless nights and stealed away our children. There weren’t no more helps of a miraculous nature. Ones like this,” he pointed to the youth who’d saved them, “started popping up instead of the healthy pretty ones. No offense, lad.” The young man smiled a toothy grin. “It’s said the old man insulted the creature and earned its wrath. We been dealin’ with it ever since. Bein’ left to wander outdoors on a night such as this is as much a death sentence as hangin’.”



Have you been inspired by someone who was able to forgive? Do you have a grandparent you look up to? Have you dealt with deafness or other disabilities?

110 comments:

  1. So true that anger can eat you up. Alva is a great example of how staying positive and being forgiving are the best ways to live.

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  2. Wow, she sounds like remarkable woman. Just amazing.

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  3. It took years to learn to let go, that it was being unwilling to forgive that was causing unhappiness by dwelling on things that couldnt change. Its undeniably true that once you accept it as is and move forward you are free to embrace the future.

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  4. She has an awesome attitude!
    Hit by a garbage truck? How awful.

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    1. I know! The guy totally didn't see her. Crazy, right?

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  5. What a beautiful tribute to an obviously special woman. Love the pic of her too.

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  6. WOW, what a woman, no wonder she inspires you. I wish my faith was strong enough I could be like that; but I am working on it. What a wonderful example for us all she is.
    Traveling Suitcase A-Z

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  7. Unforgiveness, left to fester turns to bitterness which eats away at your soul. With Easter this weekend, I remain in awe of the forgiveness I have received through the ultimate sacrifice. People like Alva remind me that forgiveness can be a way of life and it is a privilege to read about her. Thank you for sharing her story.

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    1. I was glad to do it. Thank you for reading!

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  8. What a wonderful woman! We can all learn something from her. Facing all that life has thrown at her with no complains and positivity? We all need more of that. Fantastic choice for L, I'm glad you know her and in turn are able to share pieces of her with us ;)

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  9. Your grandma certainly had a kind heart. I don't think too many people would have remained so positive!

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  10. What a great message!

    "She forgave. She never complained." I am applauding her right now! More people need to be like her. I need to be more like her. She's amazing. Bless her heart!

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  11. A garbage truck? Egads! That is both horrible and impressive. Nothing can keep her down. She doesn't suffer any lingering issues from that, does she? I hope not.

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    1. Nope. Fully recovery. She's as determined as they come.

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  12. You have such wonderful heroes in your family. Her story inspires me to keep a positive attitude, because it could always be worse!

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    1. It's so true. It could always be worse.

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  13. What an amazing lady! I love people who dust themselves off and carry on without making a fuss!!

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  14. Glad to see she wasn't the type who projects their problems onto others to try and get rid of them. :)

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  15. L is for I love your grandma!!!! What a fabulous lady. Some people just take your breath away with their awesomeness, don't they?

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    1. Aw. Thanks, Elizabeth. She is totally awesome.

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  16. Your grandmother sounds like the sort of soul we all try to be - her patience and mercy are amazing. I hope I can get there someday.

    I also loved that excerpt, Crystal!

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  17. She sounds like a truly amazing woman. My wife and her mother and sister all have hearing loss. I can't wait to tell them about the woman that helped pioneer the way for their hearing aids.

    Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

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    1. Pretty awesome, right? She'd come to visit every time she was having a procedure done and stay in my room.

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  18. Happiness is a choice, so true. Too many people are only happy if they're unhappy. Nice to see someone who chose to be truly happy first, despite all she's been through. A wonderful woman and grandmother. Thank you, Crystal, for a uplifting post.
    Silvia @
    SilviaWrites

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  19. My mom and dad were both darned brave about all that they had to go through at the end of her lives. I appreciate them for that more every day.

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    1. I hear you. People who hold out courageous at the end are amazing.

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  20. What a truly strong and admirable woman. I hope to be as forgiving as she is and to complain just a little less for my small woes.

    And I agree with Liz, great excerpt!

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  21. I love this post! I think one of the reasons forgiveness is so powerful is because it IS a choice. Choosing forgiveness over bitterness. It takes strength. She is an incredibly strong woman and a great role model.

    Also, love the excerpt. ^_^

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    1. =) She is pretty darn amazing. Thanks, Krystal.

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  22. What an amazing woman. I don't think people know what they're getting themselves into when they file a lawsuit. They think, "I'll get even," but really they end up only hurting themselves. The company lets their lawyers handle it and the person filing the suit wastes hours and suffers anguish dealing with the court system.

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    1. I know! And all the time it festers and builds until they may not be able to ever let go of the anguish.

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  23. Your grandma was an amazing woman. A lot of chronic complainers could really take a lesson from her.

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  24. Powerful post. I just shared the link on Facebook. It's something that should be widely read. :-) Thanks for sharing it.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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  25. What a beautiful tribute to what sounds like a beautiful lady!

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  26. You have some wonderful family members. Her forgiving nature is amazing.

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    1. It really is. I'm not sure I could have been that forgiving.

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  27. Forgiveness and compassion, two of the essential keys. :)

    The Immarcescible Word

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  28. I love this story about your tough but forgiving grandmother. I think many people who were brought up in the Depression learned to accept a hard life and not expect handouts. I admire them - and especially your grandmother.

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    1. I'm with you on that. They learned what really mattered and what they could survive.

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  29. My father was that kind of person. They grew they tough during those years.

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    1. That's awesome. I'd love to know more about him.

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  30. What a wonderful story about your Grandma. She sounds a great lady.

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  31. I knew it was Grandma! I just knew it!

    Love,
    Janie

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  32. These stories of your family just give me chills. So wonderful, so powerful.

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  33. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful lady. I hope you still have her with you.

    http://carolynpaulbranch.com

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    1. I do, but on the other side of the country. Thankfully she's a whiz with computers and email...for her age.

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  34. You come from a long line of women of excellence, Crystal.

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  35. I have to admit that I'm one who tends to hold on to hurt, so Alva is definitely an inspiration. How lucky you are to have people like her in your life.

    Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,
    Jocelyn

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    1. I am lucky...or blessed. She's pretty amazing.

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  36. Aww! I love this. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful lady.

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    1. She is a wonderful lady. You know, she even sends all of her great grandchildren personal birthday letters?

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  37. Wow, what an amazing story! Forgiveness is so important, but it can be so hard...

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    1. It can be, but if she can do it under those kinds of circumstances...

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  38. Hi Crystal,

    What a powerful story about your grandmother. To find the positive out of what can be perceived as only a negative, is a wonderful gift to share.

    Thank you, Crystal.

    Gary

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    1. She is an inspiration. I never really appreciated her when I was young, but when I learned the real story behind Grandpa's death... I still wonder how she can do it.

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  39. Alva sounds like a wonderful woman. Thanks for introducing us to her, Crystal.

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  40. Wow, beautiful post. Forgiveness is a choice, so is faith in God and knowing that everything happens for a reason. What an inspiring woman your grandmother is! She could have chosen to be bitter and angry, instead, she put her trust and faith in God.

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  41. What a wonderful example to have in your Grandma! Being able to forgive, and to give are both so important to having inner peace and finding happiness. My grandparents were all wonderful examples to me too, along with my own parents and my in-laws. It thing it's great to have people in your family that you can look up to.

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    1. I agree. Having their example is invaluable.

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  42. What an incredible woman! She certainly practices the forgiveness so many of us fail at, and that's undoubtedly what has led to her contentment.

    You have some great family members. What a legacy.

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  43. Grandma Alva has become my hero too. What an amazing human, who epitomizes the Godly quality of forgiveness. Crystal, thanks for sharing this wonderful post. Its morning in India, and I know that thanks to your post my day will go great. Hugs.

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    1. Aw! I'm so glad it set your day on the right track. =)

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  44. What a brilliant lady. All my grandparents are dead now. I never really knew either of my grandfathers and one of my Nana's was not a nice lady, but my mother's mother was a lovely woman. She was what I would call a real lady. She had dignity in all situations, even at then end.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

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    1. Awesome. The stories passed down must be invaluable.

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  45. These are important lessons. I notice that when I let go of the past and it's pain and moments of anger, I do better in life.

    This is a wonderful highlight of a heroic woman.

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    1. So true. When you hold onto them, you're only holding yourself back.

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  46. I wish I could be that mentally strong and that compassionate. Hats off to her.

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  47. I always appreciate "meeting" someone like Alva. She is a true inspiration and I thank you for sharing her with us.

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  48. Great morals to live by. You have amazing people in your family.

    Sania @ Fragile Words

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  49. It's rare nowadays to find such strength and compassion!!

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  50. What a wonderful example to live by! An inspiration to us all. :) We definitely can choose how we see the world- and it is important not to let anger eat us up.
    ~Jess

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  51. An amazing person. Thanks for sharing!

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  52. I think Forgiveness and Gratitude are two essential attitudes in life and I love hearing stories about people like this!! Your own Grandma?

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  53. Forgiveness and happiness go hand in hand. It's hard sometimes to remember that happiness is choice. What a great inspiration your grandmother is!

    Stefani @ Dreams of Nyssa

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Hit me with your cheese!