This past weekend I was on a group retreat for my Audire training program, and on one of the evenings we watched a film called Beyond Belief. This is the story of two 9/11 widows who founded a non-profit organization to help support Afghanistan widows once they learned that widows in Afghanistan rarely have a chance to survive and care for their children with dignity and hope once they lose their husbands. These two women were particularly struck by the fact that many Afghanistan women are being widowed now because of the war America has brought to their land in response to the 9/11 attacks. In the face of hate, we’re returning hate — but what if we brought love instead?
The documentary chronicles the grief these two 9/11 widows face at the loss of their own husbands, their coming together as friends over this shared grief, and their process of founding the organization that helps the widows in Afghanistan. It depicts their efforts to raise money by bicycling 250 miles from Ground Zero to Boston in 2004, as well as their eventual visit to Afghanistan to meet the women whose livelihoods they have enabled to thrive.
Ultimately, this film speaks of a shared conviction that hatred is learned but love conquers hate.
These women seem to embody the spirit of what I began asking here. Instead of hatred and retribution resulting in war, ought we be loving our terrorist enemies? What would such a love look like? Would it have the power to transform hearts? Could such love result in repentance? And even if it didn’t, should we do it anyway?