Imagine: A long time ago, on a beautiful sunny day far, far away a little boy was born. His mother did all she could to take really good care of him. But his father did not allow her to show much affection, to hold him the way he needed it be held or to whisper love into his little heart.
The father, a righteous man, took pride in himself and his young son wishing him to grow up to be just like he was: passionate and devoted to his beliefs, country, and religion. He was convinced that all he did was right and so his little boy was taught to think the same way.
His mother lived in fear not only for her life but the lives of her husband and son alike.
She and her sister shared the same fate, a life of living in fear and uncertainty; fulfilling her duties and suffering in silence, while watching her son become like his father.
She remembers times when her little boy would question his father about some of his teachings, but the father could only offer punishment for the boy’s curiosity. The son’s only duty was to obey his father.
One day, as the boy began to pick himself up off the floor, his lip bleeding, his gaze found his mother’s terrified eyes. His face expressed fear, confusion, and submission.
After this time, the boy never questioned his father again. Though he still often wondered about his life, reasons it was this way, and the actions he was forced to take.
Eventually, his wondering was replaced with stern commands, confusion turned to resignation, and his fear and submission became his rage.
Can you love this boy?
Imagine: A girl strapping on explosives, embarking on a mission. She’s been told it’s her surest way to salvation. Throughout the 16 years of her life, she’s been taught that she was chosen for a very important mission. Her life has a special meaning and God himself has chosen her for this mission. She feels honored. She is the chosen one.
She shall attain the ultimate goal.
Or, perhaps, she is overcome by fear so great she can’t speak, or think, or breathe at times.
Perhaps she has been abused into submission.
Perhaps she knows this mission is her only way out of having to live the way she had to.
So she goes out and detonates.
Can you love this girl?
Imagine: A mother heartbroken and helpless as her boy grows in rage and her daughter completes her God-appointed mission. All she has left now is the husband who is even more righteous and even more proud and who, once, was just like his little boy. She looks over at her sister; they both feel the same pain, the same hopelessness, the same sorrow, the same emptiness.
Can you love this mother?
Imagine: You find yourself living in a place where the only information you have access to is what you see or hear in the immediate area. Try to imagine actually having to live such a life where most of what you hear is criticism, fault finding, and condemnation. And you have no way of knowing anything different.
If there is a school, it teaches you exactly the same as what you hear at home with extra emphasis on hate and punishment. You learn how to use weapons as soon as you can carry one. You are told that there is a world out the, beyond the horizon, full of bad people who worship wrong, live wrong, think wrong, say the wrong things, like the wrong things.
Essentially, everything they do is wrong. But the wrongest of it all is that they hate you and they are on a mission to destroy you and everything you know, believe, and trust.
Can you feel yourself living this life? Can you love yourself there?
Imagine: Your heart opening so wide with love it can contain the entire world in its expanded space. Imagine your love being so vast it can wrap itself around every person who knows no love. Imagine your compassion to be so deep it can wash over every pain ever felt and heal every sorrow ever experienced.
I think you can. I know I want to.
Imagine now closing your eyes, putting your hands on your heart and feeling it beating to the rhythm of life within you, the same rhythm that beats in the heart of that father…
Imagine…loving your enemy.
Please join me in opening my heart, bowing my head, and praying for those who don't know how to love; those who don’t know how to respect their own lives nor the lives of others; those who kill innocent human beings due only to their ignorance.
Love does heal and all we need now is to love, especially those who seem unlovable.
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About the Author
In early Spring of 2011, as I sat with my journal at a family cabin, I felt the seed of my creative writing come through from beneath the surface. As I picked up my pen to begin my first journal entry, I felt a feeling of profound peace and indescribable comfort. All was well. I felt I was Home - finally!