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Michelle Shocklee | UNDER THE TULIP TREE: Exploring the Power of Forgiveness
Author Guest / September 11, 2020

Forgiveness is one of the themes woven throughout the pages of my historical time-slip novel, Under the Tulip Tree. In it, Frankie, a 101-year-old former slave, tells the story of her life to Rena, a young white woman who works for the Federal Writers’ Project, a government program that employed thousands of out-of-work writers, teachers, librarians, and others during the Great Depression. As an unlikely friendship emerges between the two women, a startling revelation threatens to undo the bond of respect and admiration they’ve nurtured. Can they overcome it? The answer hinges on one word: forgiveness. Forgiveness means different things to different people, but in Under the Tulip Tree and in this article, I’m referring to the biblical definition. The original Greek word that appears in the New Testament is aphiemi, a verb with several meanings: to send away; to expire; to let go; to disregard; to give up a debt; to keep no longer. In Under the Tulip Tree, both Frankie and Rena are faced with situations that require them to forgive someone, yet forgiveness is not easy. In fact, it can be one of the hardest things we’ll ever do, especially if the offense left us traumatized. As…