"Please keep trusting people because society is still beautiful. Please give your dearest family members a hug. That would be the most comforting and caring thing you could do for me." This was the message of the mother, Claire Wang, whose daughter was brutally killed in public in a random attack by a 33-year-old.
In one cruel stroke, Wang Ching-yu, "grabbed the child from behind and decapitated her with a cleaver as she was riding a bicycle near" her mother.
But while some are calling for his execution, Claire called for calm. She said, "This is not a problem that can be solved by passing a law, I hope we can address the problem at its root, from the perspective of family and education, so that there will no longer be people like him in our society."
Taipei mayor remarked on Facebook: "The mother's calmness and perseverance were admirable and heartbreaking."
Lesson? Just one. I recall after 911 terrorist attack, a fireman was asked how he dealt with the mindless carnage around him, and he said, "Focus on the rescuer."
This is exactly what Claire did. She focused on what is most redeeming about humanity, that is, our capacity to love and to forgive. I believe what makes us human is not so much our brilliance in technology or innovation. It is not even how far we as a species have come in exploiting nature to serve our survival and prosperity.
People like the fireman and Claire and the many unsung "rescuers" who live their lives quietly giving of themselves to their loved ones and to others show us what it truly means to be the ceaseless candle in the wind.
Their light will always shine brighter than the surrounding darkness because they consciously choose the road less traveled. It is no doubt a road that induces one to the greatest resistance because it is so easy (or natural) to lose our head and heart and rebel against society with hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness.
However, it is also a road of the greatest overcoming whereby at that crucial crossroad of pain, suffering and torment people like Claire went against the grain of what a jaded society considers as natural and drew upon the resources of love, understanding and hope to urge all to move forward. She said: "I believe the suspects in these kinds of random killings lose their minds at that moment...I have never believed that hatred and recrimination can solve problems."
I too earnestly believe that life is a journey and in this journey God allows us to be human. And to be human is to be open to all experiences and to grow with them. The pain, disappointment and betrayal will come like regular guests to life's many inns. We can thus choose to close our heart's door to them, shut them out, and hide in the hermitage of ourselves.
Or we can gradually allow them in, one guest at a time. We can sit with them and listen to their message. And I believe if you take the time to unravel them, each of them carry a message of hope, healing and growth. This is not a feel-good message. It is on the contrary a heal-well message.
I guess we all resist the healing process because letting go and letting God always means that we are letting off the one who hurt us too lightly. But we often forget that by letting go, we are not so much releasing the wrong done to us by another.
We are however releasing the bitterness and hatred that seek to consume and transform us. That is the one thing that stands in our way of full recovery and growth. Alas, life's greatest tragedy is to go to our grave with clenched fists instead of open palms
Let me end with the words of a psychiatrist who had his share of life's sorrows. He was paralyzed by a traffic accident when a big wheel went off the road and landed on the top of his car, crashing his spine.
He said that "we are all born square. But we die round." And dying "round" is to return full circle to where we first started and to see life not as an obsessive abuser or a petulant taunter, but always as an abiding teacher. That change of perspective is always empowering and transforming. Cheerz.