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Terror and Opening of Hearts

This afternoon we made a little walk and had a pause in the cafĂ© of the open air bath at the nearby river. An elderly lady came and sat down at our table, a friend of my wife’s late parents. She immediately spoke about the shock she experienced through the events in Oslo, the horrible terror killing of last Friday. She told us details of what she had read in the Sunday newspapers. We just knew what had been in the Saturday paper.

Later she asked about our family, about what my wife is now doing. Cyrille told her that 1.5 years ago she had stopped teaching piano and that now she is doing a formation as a coach in radical forgiveness. Like others of my wife’s friends the lady felt a bit irritated: For them making music is somehow a dream, for my wife it is something of the past, a thing she had learnt and practised for years but which no longer interests her. The lady wanted to know more about this kind of coaching and it turned out that she is a psychologist and first seemed to be a bit sceptical about the coaching. I mentioned how the work with radical forgiveness had done good to me…

She then started speaking of a journey last year to a place of her childhood and an event that took place in 1945 at the Danube, where Hungarian Nazis had collected all the Jews of the town, led them to the river and killed them there. She wasn’t there, but members of her family had been among the victims. Her father’s side was Jewish, her mother’s side Christian and she grew up as a Christian, but has always been in contact with Jews. She had been again at that place and read the memorial plate with all the names of the persons killed, and there was written the sentence:

“If you are a human, you have to learn to forgive, but not to forget.”

She continued speaking of her father who later went to Israel, whereas she came to Switzerland. She became a psychologist and in spite of her high age she is still working, for victims of mobbing.

There was a magic spell in the air, a feeling of souls touching each other, beyond words. My wife stood a while at the river and looked at the flow, reminding her of the times passing by. On our way home we reflected about the scene, and my wife said: “I didn’t know anything about her before, we only had exchanges on a small-talk level. I felt that she still carries  a heavy load of past experiences and was very grateful to open up and speak a bit about it and to feel that we listened with an open-heart. Just listened, and this opened her feelings. I felt love coming from her side. And there was a flow.”


A Norwegian flag on half-mast in the neighbourhood

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