Thursday, February 05, 2009

It's not too late

It's not cancer-related, per se, but I just read an incredibly moving article about a man who, during the civil rights era, beat a young black activist bloody. The activist survived, and grew up to be Congressman John Lewis; his assailant lived for years without realizing who his victim had been, but plagued by guilt over his own actions. When he did come to understand the link between his behavior and this member of Congress, he contacted Lewis to try to offer an apology. The two men met, Wilson (the attacker) apologized, and Lewis forgave him.

I find this moving for so many reasons. First and foremost, it's never too late. These guys waited over 45 years--waited to make amends, or to accept them. Wilson is the first person involved in that attack to come forward to Lewis. They are both humbled and profoundly changed by their new bond of understanding, which grew out of shared violence. People can address their regrets, even if it takes too long; other people can forgive, and experience the wholeness that comes through forgiveness. And from a Buddhist perspective, it is wonderful to have the additional compassion and healing in the world, that didn't exist before these two men met, and that now extend benefits to all of us.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

T

laurie said...

What a truly amazing story. Thank you.