I watched the ABC special of Diane Sawyer’s interview with Jaycee Dugard with hope and heartbreak. My heart rejoiced that Dugard seems to have been able to move beyond her abduction and victimization. She appears to be dealing with the situation head-on. She hopes to make something good out of sharing her story. Her face and words reflect her attitude. She wants to show the world there is life after something tragic.
I hurt for her mother, though. I saw in her face and her words that she is still stuck in anger and frustration. Anger over the horrible crime committed against her daughter and her, and frustration with a legal system that seemed unable to solve the crime sooner.
Two women from the same family, both victimized, one by the abduction of her daughter and 18 years of wondering where she was. The other, the child: kidnapped, sexually assaulted, impregnated, giving birth twice, and imprisoned for 18 years. Two different responses to the crime.
What makes the difference? Life presents each of us challenges and roadblocks in our journey. How do we find the glory in our tribulations? How do we have peace in the midst of the tragic?
It’s a matter of choice.
Somewhere along the way, Dugard made the conscious decision to move beyond the tribulation and live.
When the news first broke about Dugard’s rescue, I wrote a piece titled “As we have been forgiven” for Examiner.com, likening her ordeal to the story of Joseph in the Bible. It created a stir of comments from readers: some who had chosen to move beyond their situation, others who were still stuck.
I’m sure Dugard’s recounting of her story in her book, “A Stolen Life,” and through the interview with Sawyer will bring a storm of comments as well. I pray she will continue to face each situation head on and not become discouraged in her journey. Her viewpoint can change the way people look at their circumstances. Her therapist has helped her come to the understanding that the past was something that happened to her, not who she is.
Circumstances in each of our lives, and the choices we make in dealing with them, make a difference in our countenance, in the way we perceive ourselves and the way we are perceived and how we deal with others. Those who have moved beyond the tragedies in their lives are no longer being held captive by them and often seek to help others find freedom as well. The story of Joseph (Genesis 37 through 50) revealed that he sought the Lord’s leading and allowed God to bring good out of what was meant for evil.
Each of us has the same option in our lives.
Choose well. Choose life.
•Amy Torres is a published writer and a spiritual adviser and counselor. She and her husband lead the college ministry at First Baptist Church in Patterson.