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The 46-Year-Old Path to Forgiveness
My mother has a saying: It's easy to be nice...(long, potent beat)...when you're feeling nice. The same holds true for forgiveness. It’s to forgive the easy, inconsequential things—being stood up on a date or cut in front of in line at the grocery store. But what about the big wrenching losses, those life-changing wrongs that you know you must forgive—not just for the person who let you down, but for yourself? (Bitterness, by the way, has been recently proven to reduce lifespan.)
Earlier this month, hearing about Farid Singh (from India) receiving an email from Qais Hussain (from Pakistan), we were astonished. In the email, as the website Good originally reported, Hussain claimed to have shot down Singh's father's plane—killing him—back in 1965 during the Indo-Pakistani War. Worse, Singh's father was an innocent civilian. Hussain sent his apologies and condolences, writing that "the unfortunate loss of precious lives, no matter how it happens, hurts each human and I am no exception. I feel sorry for you, your family, and the other seven families who lost their dearest ones."
Even more astonishing, was Singh's letter back...
She reacted without anger or judgment. "In all the struggles that followed," she said, "we never, not for one moment, bore bitterness or hatred for the person who actually pulled the trigger and caused my father’s death. The fact that this all happened in the confusion of a tragic war was never lost to us. We are all pawns in this terrible game of War and Peace." When I think of my own parents—and what losing them would be like—I wonder how Singh summoned such grace and strength.
But perhaps Singh's approach came from another source. "Most of all," she wrote, "My father would have liked...bringing a spark of forgiveness between our two peoples, who after all were one."Check out a 1965 photo of Hussain with his plane in the full article on Good. To see the original letters from Singh and Hussain on journalist Benna Sarwar's website.
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