My mom sent me a note saying “Being in the right place at the right time is Karma.” The following photo was enclosed.
This afternoon I stopped to listen to a man asking for donations for refugees in Somalia. After I agreed to contribute I was blessed with a story that resolved some of my unanswerable questions that have plagued me since my friend Ioana died.
Daniel’s village in Rwanda was invaded and the only 32 that survived were taken to prison and tortured. He lost his parents in the invasion and lost the use of his legs in the prison because of the torture.
He moved to the United States alone with the help of UNHRC. A doctor told him he would never walk again because the beating had been so severe it had paralyzed his legs. He shocked the doctor and recovered his ability to walk, but couldn’t sleep at night because as soon as he closed his eyes he could imagine people being killed in front of him. He began running.
Running allowed him to sleep at night. He ran all the way to National Championships.
Years later he spoke with a man who was from Rwanda and told the man who his parents had been. The man knew his name and claimed to be friends with Daniel’s father but looked at him in disbelief. His parents had held a funeral for him five years prior. The man gave him his dad’s number and he was able to convince his dad that he was real and alive. They were reunited three months later.
He said that when he first came to the United States it was hard for him to watch people laughing because he knew how much suffering there was in the world. Eventually, he decided that he would never be able to understand why people did such horrible things to each other and found peace and happiness. Now he is very happy to be working for an organization trying to help others displaced by violence.
I often struggle to deal with the pain I see because I feel it so acutely. I spend so much time trying to accept that my dad violently kicked my mom while I watched, and that my friend fell off a cliff and left her husband’s heart broken. Sometimes I’m upset just because I don’t know how to help my friend’s daughter pass her sixth grade math class, and I feel badly for all the hard-working kids who fail math because it is taught so poorly. However, if Daniel can find joy in life after witnessing the murder of most of his community, then I know that I can learn to accept that I will never be able to stop or understand all the suffering I witness on this earth.
He believes he is here for a reason and is working towards those goals. I need to do a better job of quieting my mind when it asks questions for which there is no answer so that I can focus on making the world a little bit happier.