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Alyssa Shepherd: Anger or Forgiveness? Hate or Acceptance?

Editor’s Note: Alyssa Shepherd, 24, is the woman who was driving the pickup truck that crashed into a group of children waiting for a school bus near Rochester, Indiana – killing three children, all siblings who attended Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation – and seriously injuring another. Authorities say she failed to recognize the stopped bus in the early morning of October 30. 

It might be too early to be talking about this. 

There is so much hate, my friends. It really hurts my heart to hear so much hate – and for those of you that are being so hateful, do you think that you are a part of the problem in the world and not the solution?

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that I listened to one of your pastors, and I thought he did a great job. He was talking about the fact that we live in an imperfect world I got to thinking that if life was perfect, we wouldn’t have love and we wouldn’t have hate. We wouldn’t have sunny days, bad days or good days. We wouldn’t have victories or  losses – or every day would be wins. 

We live in an imperfect world.  

Life’s not fair, It wasn’t fair then, it isn’t fair now and it certainly isn’t going to be fair tomorrow. 

I am sure that there are many rumors about Alyssa Shepherd, but I want to share a little bit about what I have heard. I don’t know how much is true.  

I heard that in the early morning hours she got a phone call and her father was being rushed to the hospital for emergency heart surgery. My friends, we can all understand that in a situation like that, we are overwhelmed and want to get there right away. 

She was in a rush. It was dark out, and she sees these lights up ahead like we do.Now, on those rural roads, it could be easy to think that it was just another combine or a tractor. And I think we are all guilty of this – we fly by it.  

Oh man… 

I know she stayed on the scene the whole time, and then she went to her job at a church. She was there praying with the pastor when the police came to arrested her. 

I bet a lot of you are going to crucify me for saying this. It’s OK. I can handle it, but I want you to think about this: You either live with hate in your heart or you live with love in your heart. Hate takes a lot out of you.  

I’m sorry that we lost three siblings. I don’t know how my 11-year-old friend is doing in the hospital. I pray that he is going to recover – and it’s going to be a slow recovery. I’m praying for each and every one of you. But you know what?  I am also praying for Alyssa and her family.  

This wasn’t intentional. I can promise you that. 

It was an honest mistake in an imperfect world.  

I am not excusing what happened by any means, but I have forgiveness in my heart. And folks, we don’t really forgive people so much for them – but as we are going through the grieving process, we do it for ourselves.  

This young lady and her family have taken themselves off social media because people are making threats against her.   

Why? Who does that?

She made an honest mistake. For the rest of her life, she has to live with this, and I promise you that she will live with this forever. If she goes to jail, she leaves her family and her two kids – and now they have to grow up without a mom.  

If she doesn’t go to jail, I don’t know… 

She will be in therapy for the rest of her life, and her life has forever changed. She has to live with this, and yet we want to hate. We want her to rot in prison – in hell.  

Have you ever done something you wish you didn’t do? Have you ever said something you wish you didn’t say? I have, and you probably have, right? But when we someone do something wrong – we look at them and hold them to a standard that is greater than the standard we hold ourselves to. Why? Because you ain’t ready to look at ourselves. 

Look at yourself first.  

We are not perfect, but in all of our mistakes, He has forgiven you. And you have probably forgiven yourself.  

Do you think God has forgiven Alyssa Shepherd?

I don’t know what she is going to go through in the process of forgiving herself for this loss. I can’t imagine, but we can’t change what happened. I wish there was more that I could say. I wish I could take all the pain away. But I can’t. But I can tell you that hate is going to bring more hate. Anger is going to bring more anger, Rage is not healthy. 

The opposite of all this is loving each other and accepting that which we cannot change – accepting the situation,  but that’s going to take a long time as we go through the grieving process. 

Right now, it’s too early, I get it. We’re angry. We are shocked. We are in denial. 

Think of mom and dad: “Had I walked them out to the bus stop a little later,” or “Had I not let them take the bus…” or “It was dark and I don’t like the bus stop. I should have driven them.”  

There are so many things that we think that we could have done differently – but there is really nothing that we could have done differently because we didn’t know. 

Again – we live in an imperfect world. We live in a world where we don’t know.  

You only know what you know, and we can only do what we’ve learned – and so we are living with all of this hate. We have learned hate,  but we can learn something differently. We can learn love. We can learn forgiveness. We can learn acceptance. We can just BREATHE – and understand that this was an innocent mistake by a young lady that is going to have to pay the price forever. 

She didn’t leave the scene. She stayed there and fully cooperated under an incredible amount of shock.  

It’s OK to have differences of opinion, and even to ask others why they are being so hateful - but we must respect each other. 

I think these conversations are all part of the process of grieving and moving forward. We can’t bring back these lives. I wish we can.  

Love is greater than hate. Hate is just unhealthy, my friends.  

I love all of you. I am praying for you, and like I always say – It’s going to be OK.