Reflecting with a grateful heart on this Veterans Day, I want to especially thank my step-father, Major George Dvorak, for serving 21 honorable years in the United States Air Force. He fought as a commanding bomber pilot in WWII, served twice as a Prisoner of War, and also returned to fight in the Korean War. I thank him most, however, for teaching me the invaluable life lessons of unconditional love, grace, and forgiveness. With an open, vulnerable heart, I share our story to demonstrate the power and possibility of forgiveness and healing.
FORGIVENESS is full of heart opening, honesty, humility, and vulnerability. I have found that those who forgive freely are those who have been forgiven much. “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” ~ Brene Brown
Experiencing true forgiveness, whether deserved or not, opens the heart to hope, healing, and freedom. What relationship or situation has taught you the most about forgiveness? Take a moment to quietly reflect. ❤️
As a young girl I knew George as the neighborhood trouble maker who lived down the street. Cops were frequently at his home for disturbing the peace, and for assault and battery charges. My mother, unstable in her relationships due to mental health issues and addiction, ended up divorcing my father for other men and eventually married our neighbor George. They were together five turbulent years, and our lives were in continual crisis stemming from her issues, and his PTSD, rage, and alcohol addiction. In one explosive episode, my mother stabbed George in the heart with a kitchen knife in self-defense, was arrested, and the marriage soon ended on a tragic note.
In an attempt to escape the turmoil and become independent, I left home at the age of 15 and lived with various friends and families who helped me along my path. Needless to say, my trust in people was minimal. However, my spiritual searching and journey provided the space for rawness, insight, and supernatural healing. I learned to express emotion — to pour it out — anger, sadness, bitterness, layers of tears, and even moments of joy.
George still considered me his daughter as he did not have any biological children, and we remained in contact through the years. In the best way he knew how, he tried to express forgiveness and love. I began to understand his life journey, and how trauma and grief impacted his personality and behavior. Over time, he isolated himself from his extended family, and my husband and I were the only ones to visit or care about him. In 2007, George went from independent living to dying within eight months. We cared for him while dealing with his verbal and physical outbursts, determined to show him grace and unconditional love. As Elizabeth Kubler Ross stated, “the only thing I know that truly heals people is unconditional love.” Our daughters, ages two and four at the time, were innocent rays of light that helped us all. Towards the end of George’s life, upon his death bed, I experienced the most supernatural connection with him. I was sharing about Divine love, forgiveness, peace, the afterlife, letting go — and asked if he was ready to receive it all — and from a body that had been unresponsive for weeks — he raised his hands, placed them in a prayer position, and motioned his lips to say, I believe. In complete awe, I fell upon my knees and bowed to the omnipresence of the Divine — one of the most amazing, serene moments of my life! George knew peace. George knew forgiveness. George knew grace. George knew true love. 30 years of my life invested into his life mattered. All the trauma, hurt, and challenges were worth it. Every experience coming together for a purpose way beyond my human comprehension.
George Dvorak passed away on Veterans Day 2007. I have no doubt in my being this was planned and purposed. My healing continued in the years following — experiencing additional memories, layers of emotion, and healing forgiveness. It is a process. It takes time. It takes gentle, loving awareness. It is liberating. It is its own unique beauty.
What is your forgiveness story? You may be in the heart of it right now, in the rawness. It is a process. It takes time. May you forgive others, forgive yourself, and be free. Vulnerability is powerful. Tears are healing. ❤️
How to Reconcile:
❦ Make the first move. This shows maturity.
❦ Handle with humility.
❦ Remember you own the offer, not the result.
Who do you need to contact?