When I met Malala’s parents – part 2

“There was no judgement at this event. Despite the genesis and reason for it – there was none. Neither were there political nuances. There was no blame. Just love and it was so beautiful. “

Last week I penned the above in my blog regarding the delightful experience at a gala event and meeting Ziauddin and Tor Pekai Yousafzai, the parents of 2014 Nobel Peace Prize award winner Malala Yousafzai. And as I reflect upon that week, prior to and since, the theme that rumbles most with me, with my soul, is love.

You may recall the other experience I had with that old buddy of mine in the piece I wrote about “sleeping naked” and describing himself to me simply as love. If you are thinking something that is NOT there then please go quickly and read that one too! In the week that ensued I received an email from him and the subject line read, “Bad news”. The body of the message informed me on the untimely and extremely sudden passing of his younger brother. I know that were it not for that earlier encounter, the tragic news would not have arrived in the timely manner as it did. My friend was to pass through Toronto Pearson airport for a connecting flight to join his brother’s family in their grief and for the funeral – over 3000 kilometres away. Though we only had about fifteen minutes available to us between his customs call and the connecting flight – I had to be there. Eerily related, earlier that morning I was randomly introduced to a song that stirred me. And in response to it, I shared a blog I had written last February, which also contained a song, Disturbed’s cover of The Sound of Silence. http://lettersandwalls.com/?p=88

Reading that piece that I wrote several months ago and listening once again to that song – I must be up to 51 times by now – I knew that it was necessary to send it to my friend right away. As he walked into arrivals where I was waiting for him, his tear-filled eyes spoke volumes to me. He had Wi-Fi on the plane and read my piece and listened to that song on the short flight to Toronto. Who knew that a trigger I received only a few hours prior would lead me to presenting to him just what he needed at that time. I had reached into his soul and touched it and he touched mine. The truth is, I needed it more than he did. He certainly was love. I am still working on me.

Muhammad Ali passed away this week. We all know that tens if not hundreds of millions have been deeply impacted by his life. But not all. For some, bitterness, hate and intolerance are regretfully still a part of their core. And good old social media was at it again, happy to provide a platform of hate in the wake of the death of The Greatest. Some couldn’t care less for a “boxer” who died, especially a “boxer” who spoke certain unappetizing words 50 odd years ago. But Muhammad Ali was much more than a boxer. He was to become a game changer, one perchance without an equal. And love became a part of Muhammad Ali.

What I gleefully observed when I met Malala’s parents, was far-reaching opposition to hate and anger when they have as much a reason as any to harbour those feelings. I have been blessed to be able to see much love all around me. Not everywhere, but what I have, I am grateful for.

Love is a positive emotion. Not loving or not hating is neither positive nor negative. Apathy is that state. Apathy is not love or hate. Hate is a negative emotion. So the opposite of hate is love and vice versa. And both are choices we can make. Anger, a close relation to hate is ugly. Look into the mirror when you are angry – what do you see? Furious at what Ali said in 1969? Loving yourself is the start. The love allows forgiveness into your heart. Maybe that is what my friend meant when he said he is love.

3 thoughts on “When I met Malala’s parents – part 2

  1. Stuart, another very meaningful blog for me. It made my eyes water. What a gift you and your friend have in each other. What has stayed with me is your thought that you needed the experience as much or more than he did and that he was love and you are still working on that. In some of the work I do I know, for a fact, that we are all of us – love. Perhaps the reason your friend could “be love” with you was that he sees and feels that love in you.

    Thank you for your continued blogging. Your efforts have had a great impact on me!


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