I read something recently that touched me:
O Lord, remember not only the men and women of goodwill but also those of ill will. But do not only remember the suffering they have inflicted on us. Remember too the fruits we have found thanks to this suffering – our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage and generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this. And when they come to judgment, let all their fruits which we have borne also be a part of their forgiveness.
(Prayer written by an unknown prisoner
in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp
and found on a piece of wrapping paper in the camp
near the body of a dead child)
Love thine enemies, indeed. I wonder if this prisoner was able to love his captors more deeply than feel the pain they were inflicting on him or her. Could he or she look first at the horrible karma they were creating for themselves, and be sad for them?
In my life, many have sent me ill will. Some of them, I believe, were furious about my spontaneity. Some no doubt hated me for being popular. Who knows … maybe the fact that I enjoyed life and other people was an affront. Here are a few of those folks:
1. I was out with a friend at a restaurant. He had driven. I said something that offended him. He stood up, glowered at me, and left. I walked the five miles home.
2. A supervisor didn’t like how I was doing my job. He reported me to the powers-that-be. I was grilled during two long meetings with Human Resources, with the possibility of being fired hanging in the air.
3. A teenaged girl accused me of sexual harassment. I was innocent. She apparently had to lash out at someone, and she picked me. Until I was cleared of this charge, I suffered a lot.
These three people are probably still out there in the world somewhere. I hope they are happy. I hope they are surrounded by human beings who love them. I let them go.