If we read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sometimes, anger and hate may seem to be the easier route. Some actions cannot be justified – or so we think – and so those actions, we ache to repay in kind.
I heard of a story of a mother of a fourteen-year-old kid that got killed by another boy of the same age. The killing was done to prove to his fellow gang members that he was worthy. He was arrested, taken to court, tried and convicted of the crime. Now the mother of the dead boy sat through the trial, and on the day he was convicted, as he was being taken away, when he got close to where she sat, she stood up slowly, looked him in the eyes and said to him, “I’m gonna kill you” as they took him away.
As the killer served his time in prison, no one came to see him, not even his gang members. He had no one.
So the mother of the dead boy came to visit him one day. At first he was scared, but she assured him that she just wanted to talk to him – which she did. And as she was leaving, she gave him some money for his prison upkeep. Her visits became more frequent, and as he turned 18, and was to be released, she asked him what he was going to do when he got out. He replied that he had no idea, and that he had no one. She told him that she has a friend, and she should be able to get him a job when he gets out. This she arranged with his parole officer, and got him a job. Then she asked him where he was going to stay when he got out. He replied that he had no idea, as he had no one or place to go to. So she told him she had a spare bedroom, and he could move in with her.
After he was released, he moved in with her, and worked at the job she got him. One day, she called him, and told him she wanted to talk to him. She asked him if he remembered the day in court when she told him she was going to kill him. He looked at her and told her he did, and how could he ever forget that day. She then explained to him that the boy of that day, the boy who killed her son, was gone. She wanted him to die, and that was why she went about doing all she did for him: getting him a job, a place to live, visiting him in prison; he was no longer the same person, she pointed out. She went further to tell him that she didn’t have anybody, and she would like to adopt him. She asked him if he would let her adopt him, to which he said yes. And that was how the boy got a mother he had never had, and she got a son again.
Now this story struck me at heart because of how unusual and beautiful it is. It is more common to find stories where the mother gets a guard to kill the boy in prison, or ensures he gets the longest possible sentence, so her son gets “justice”. After all, she promised to kill him, and I don’t think anyone would readily blame her, or call her a monster if she did any of those things. But then, what would it change? It wouldn’t bring her son back to life. I very much doubt it would heal her broken heart.
Revenge: a dish best served cold. There is a saying that goes, ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’. So if we know this, why then do we readily serve the dish of revenge that only births more pain and destruction, rather than love that births life? We live in a world run by hate and fear, we have been taught it, we are constantly being programmed to see differences, be it race, religion, sex, or even class. We constantly see ourselves as different from the next person. We don’t know anymore how to try and understand the next person, because we believe he/she is different, and so he/she can not be understood. And so if somebody hurts us, we see our only response as to hurt them back, and in cases where we are not afforded that opportunity, harbour resentment and hatred. But these negative energies only tear us up. They prevent us from radiating and receiving the beautiful, more positive energies like love, happiness, or even peace of mind. I recently saw – in my opinion – the most beautiful definition of the word forgiveness. It says, ‘Forgiveness is taking the knife out of your back and choosing to not use it to hurt anyone else’ (and that includes yourself).
What I’m trying to say here is that we can’t control the actions of other people; we can’t control the way the world works; but we are more than capable of controlling the way we react to these situations. We can either choose to hold on to the pain and resentment, or we can choose to let it go, and heal. The choice is up to us
Post inspired by Prince ea
Edited by plastosilch