24. The Axe

24. The Axe

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Forgiveness

The Axe

Unconditional forgiveness is the path to your own inner peace.

~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

My husband Dave and I returned from town one afternoon to find Dave’s best Fiskars axe, broken in half, lying on the kitchen counter. Beside it was a note from my fourteen-year-old son: “I’m sorry Dave, I’ll buy you a new one from Canadian Tire.”

I remembered the last time he’d borrowed an axe from his father. He’d forgotten it in the back yard, where it had rusted. He’d quietly endured ongoing vicious verbal assaults for months after that incident—an opportunity too good to miss for a father who pushed the well-behaved, timid boy further into his introverted shell every chance he got.

Dave had no knowledge of the past incident, but a lump formed in my throat as I watched him read Ed’s note. I knew exactly why my son had made himself scarce that afternoon: His stepfather was too new of an addition in my children’s lives for them to be sure he wouldn’t react in the same manner they’d come to expect of a father.

“Poor kid. Must be a big adjustment for him, making the move here and leaving his friends. I thought maybe he’d work off some of that pent up anger chopping wood. You think the Fiskars company would believe their ‘unbreakable axe’ was no match for a frustrated boy?”

Then he sat down and wrote at the bottom of the note: “It’s okay, Ed. Things happen, especially when you’re carrying a heavy load and won’t ask for help, or just talk. I forgive you. Love you, Dave.”

The forgiveness he extended that day marked the beginning of healing in Ed’s life and the start of many father/son evening chats by our living room fireplace. Even though Ed is twenty-two and setting up his own home, those chats still occur today. And they still warm my heart.

~Beverly Fox-Jourdain

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