I feel it’s time we take the high road and humanize the “enemy.”
What would happen if we did this? If we could empathize with their struggles and offer compassion and a helping hand instead of additional pain and suffering? Would they still be the enemy, or would we transmute that energy and transcend into an awareness of our common humanity?
I’ve been thinking about this lately. In the microcosm of relationships and in the macrocosm of nations, it’s still the same concept. What if we re-humanized each other? What if we could stand in someone’s shoes to the best of our ability, understand where they’re coming from and have compassion for their journey?
Despite how incredibly difficult it is at times to accept pain and needless suffering dealt to us by another and still take the high road, (and trust me it is not easy for me either), I am beginning to see the great value and promise in doing so. And the healing effects it can have on our precious hearts.
Imagine this: a peaceful shepherd loses his wife and children to an bombing in Afghanistan. He buries the love of his life and his little darlings with his own hands and grieves alone in an empty, joyless home. Can you imagine what it would feel like to lose the idyllic life you’ve worked so hard for and everyone you loved deeply all in one heart-shattering moment? All that pain and suffering, when left unhealed, turns into toxic rage and revenge. Toxic energy without an outlet turns inward and poisons the spirit. With no one to feel concern for him or to comfort him, his pain hardens and soon he’s the perfect recruit for a gang called the Taliban who spur on his rage and then hand him a kalishnakov. Now this peaceful shepherd is walking around with an AK-47 and an ocean of hopelessness and sadness that has turned to rage.
What if we offered this man our sincerest condolences and compassion? What if we came to him with humble and open hearts and asked, “How can I help you suffer less?” What if we befriended him and chose to take responsibility for bombing his fields, where his beautiful children were playing and where his precious wife was enjoying the daffodils? Is it possible this love and concern might change his path? Is it possible by softening our hearts, that we may soften his? That by offering him our sincerest condolences and doing what we can to help right our wrongs, that his path could be different? Maybe. It’s always possible. The greater question is, what will befall us all if we don’t?
Jo Berry said it best in her TED talk about a bombing that killed her father. “And it was then I realized, that if I’d lived his life and gone through everything he’d gone through, I may have made the same choices. And in that moment, there is nothing to forgive, there is just that understanding, that knowing, that my story could be his story, and his story could be my story. That there is no other and there is no enemy.”