Monday, September 28, 2020

To Forgive


I was thinking this past week about the number of times I’ve screwed up. Big or small, there have been way too many to count, both in the past and in the present. 

I can deal with mistakes that affect me only, however those are not as many as the mistakes that affect others as well as me. What are really hurtful are the mistakes that affect my family, who more times than not, are collateral damage to any mistake I make.

It’s easy for me to apologize. I truly mean it when I say to someone that I’m sorry. I don’t like hurting others and I don’t like it when people, especially those in positions of authority hurt others. There have been times when I’ve been cautioned about apologizing for things that were not my fault or things I didn’t do, but I believe I have some culpability in what was done or said. It happened on my watch. I hate this phrase, but at times – even though it is hard to swallow – the buck stops with me.

Sometimes my “humor” gets in the way and it can sting. I don’t mean to cause hurt, but sometimes . . . most times . . . sarcasm hurts. The joke is at someone’s expense. It isn’t called for and at the heart of it, it is mean and unkind. 

What is perhaps the hardest for me is when someone says or does something to or about one of my kids or someone close to me. My anger flares up. It lasts. Some hurts have lasted years.

There was a teacher who refused to follow my son’s accommodations. Refused. Wil had a reading problem. What ended up in his head sometimes didn’t make it to the pen and paper. Many times, what he read, he didn’t understand. He battled learning English. You see, his native tongue is Spanish (we adopted him from Guatemala when he was seven), though he was illiterate in that language because of never attending school before we adopted him. The teacher felt that by providing him with a “book,” (not just a reading book, but a large text) he could then read it and understand it on his own.

A learning disability didn’t and doesn’t work that way.

It took me a long time to forgive, though I have never really forgotten it.

One teacher told me that my daughter “wouldn’t get by in life with her cutesy smile and by batting her eyes.” He repeated that and other unkind things behind her back to her classmates. Some of her friends defended her, but the teacher didn’t seem to care. She didn’t deserve this. Aside from being unprofessional, it was unkind and unjust.

Just two examples, and I’m not illustrating them to badmouth the teachers. Teachers have enough on their plate, especially in this day and age. The demands on them are burdensome. No matter how many years one has taught, this is everyone’s first year because of virtual learning, the technology involved, and teaching in isolation. 

The point I’m trying to make is that these two examples took place years ago. I’ve not gotten over them. As a dad, one of my jobs is to protect them, teach them, mentor and nurture them. I take this responsibility seriously.

Personally, I try to be kind. I try to be compassionate. I try to be considerate. I try to look far enough ahead of a decision, action or word to see what might result from it.

But I cannot help but feel that at times, my inability to forgive negates my kindness, my compassion that I bestow on others. Sometimes, my inability to forgive negates the good I’ve done to or for others. Looking at it through a religious lens, if God or Jesus can forgive what I’ve done or not done, said or didn’t say, who am I to not forgive those who have wronged me or my family or my loved ones? How can He forgive me if I choose to not forgive others?

Lastly, holding onto a grudge is burdensome. It takes precious time and energy that can be best spent lifting yourself and others. Truly, I’ve wasted enough time and too many days (months, years) not forgiving. While I am not perfect – I’ve demonstrated that over and over again – it’s time I put my heart where my mouth is. Though hard, though seemingly impossible, I, and perhaps, we, need to forgive. Not only for the good of others, but for our own good, our own health both mental and physical. We need to work on it. We need to forgive. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

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Betrayed is now available for Kindle preorder to KDP Select at Amazon at: and it is also available in print at:      
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, and no one is talking.

Betrayed received two more outstanding reviews:

“The Bottom Line: A stirring and unusual tale of teenage love, adventure and murder. While author Joseph Lewis has filled Betrayed with a large and compelling cast, the story belongs to Brian, one of several characters from Lewis’ excellent crime thriller, Spiral Into Darkness. The relationship between Brian and his family is incredibly well-drawn and often touching. Readers will be rewarded with an explosive adventure.”
-        Best Thrillers

"This novel is an action-packed thriller that will keep the reader turning the pages. The descriptions of settings and characters are extremely well done, and the pacing is perfect. The ending ties up all the loose ends, yet you feel (and hope) there will be more from these characters in the future. Action and adventure are the words of the day in this thrilling, well-written page-turner from Joseph Lewis.”
-        Sublime Review

“To call Betrayed a thriller alone would be to do it a disservice. It’s a social inspection of Navajo reservation culture and life, and its probe of the roots of love and connection are wonderfully woven into a story of adversity and the struggle to survive on many levels. These elements make Betrayed particularly recommended for readers who look for psychological depth and complexity from a story of violence and evolution.”
-        Diane Donovan, Editor; Donovan's Literary Services; Midwest Book Review/Bookwatch; Author of San Francisco Relocated. 

Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.  

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family.  

Caught in a Web is now available in Audio format. You can find it at:

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.  
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. 
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.     
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.      

Photos Courtesy of Power of Positivity.


  1. Your blog is absolutely fantastic, such a wonderful discovery. I'm so excited to read more.

  2. Thank you so much, Savana. I appreciate you stopping by to check it out.

  3. This was very thought provoking. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your comment and for stopping by to take a look at it. I appreciate it.

    2. Such great insight, really got me thinking! Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed reading!

    3. Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate it.


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe