I was clicking around on the channels last night trying to find something to catch my attention. I had woken up after falling asleep on the couch....AFTER I had just experienced a horrendous nightmare. This one had seemed so real it left me completely freaked out. I had been stalked and attacked and then had to go through a trial where the perpetrator was shackled and locked in a small dog crate and all he did during the trial was stare at me with longing and lust and a smile on his face. Originally, the perp was unknown to me but while he was huddle up in this crate, he morphed into someone I knew.....someone I was once close to.
It creeps me out just thinking about it now......
So, I turned on the TV..... to find escape.....and all of a sudden, I'm watching the weirdest interview on a usually flippy late night talk show....Craig Ferguson is interviewing Bishop Desmond Tutu. They are talking about humanity, forgiveness, reconciliation, and on being human.....and I hear...."None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. I am because other people are."
Tutu then talks about forgiveness and tells a story about a woman who spoke during the apartheid truth and reconciliation hearings in South Africa. The woman had been gang raped and burned alive. Her family was brutally murdered and she was left to die. However, she lived and spent months in a hospital healing her painful painful wounds. The time in the hospital left her with an unrelenting amount of time in her head processing her horrendous unimaginable experiences. When she healed and had the opportunity to speak out, she described her ordeal as life enriching and requested that she meet the perpetrator. She wanted to talk to him. She wanted to describe what she had been through, what she had lost. She needed to express her deep feelings, and her thoughts. What she wanted was for this man to ask for his forgiveness. But, more importantly, she wanted a chance to seek forgiveness herself.
It left me stunned....how could a woman who had been violated, beaten, burned and left alone with her family have a desire to express her own forgiveness?
Bishop Tutu talked about the fact that if we harbour resentment, if we choose to remain hostage to the vileness of hatred and to the evil all around us, we do more damage to ourselves. Still I wonder if I could be big enough to ask for forgiveness if I had been through such pain and sorrow. Where does this strength come from? How can one maintain any semblance of faith when one's whole world has been torn apart?
The story gives me hope....and makes me want to strive for that strength and resilience needed to overcome the very worst our nightmares and imagination can drum up. It also makes me shake my head in wonder.......makes me want to reach out and embrace those who suffer such atrocities to let them know that whatever strength i have to give, I want to lend it to them too.
We are all human because we learn about ourselves through other humans. We cannot "be" without the people in our lives nor without the experiences life throws at us.