Bad things happen to my heroine, Ayisha. Despicable, mind-numbing things that shouldn't happen to anyone. Yet in spite of the heavy hand that controls her every move, Ayisha
still has choices that are hers alone to make. How she is able—or not—to process
events surrounding her makes all the difference in her life, and in the lives of virtually everyone around her. Which makes her no different than the rest of us, really.
Think about it. When someone suddenly cuts in front of you on the highway and then continues to weave in and out of the traffic ahead, what's your knee-jerk reaction? Do you let the offense go without another thought—or do you hope to witness the offender's car flying off the roadway up ahead?
Now let's make it harder. What if your weasel of a colleague steals your brilliant idea, presents it to your boss, and ends up getting that promotion that should have been yours—and there's not a thing you can do about it. Would you focus your anger on getting even with him, spend the rest of your life bitter—or would you forgive him and re-focus your brilliance on creating new opportunities in your life as soon as possible?
"Forgive him? Are you crazy?"
Maybe I am, or hopelessly naive, but that's exactly what I want you to do. Someone once said, "Non-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." And that's exactly my point.
The longer you drink from the pool of rage and resentment, the more power you give it to poison your own mind, rob you of your own health and well-being—and, keep yourself hopelessly chained to the very person or situation that caused you pain in the first place. Vengeance only re-circulates that poison. Everywhere you go, it pulls you down like a bag of rocks strapped to your back, keeping you crippled in your own pain—until you finally decide to put it aside. It takes tremendous courage and hard work to forgive—but it's your only option if you ever hope to live again.
Just ask Marietta Jaeger, whose seven-year-old daughter was snatched from her tent on a camping trip and later murdered by her kidnapper. She worked so hard at forgiving the man who took the love of her life away, that years later at his trial the judge honored her request to spare his life.
Or ask Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide whose entire Tutsi family was slaughtered, while she barely survived by standing silent in a concealed 3' x 4' bathroom. With seven other women. For 91 days. She said later of the ordeal, "It was like dying alive." Yet when she felt her bitter rage destroying her, she made the conscious choice to forgive instead, even as she came face-to-face with one of her family's murderers. He raised his sword to strike her down, but she stood her ground and said what she came to say. She told him she loved him for the spark of divinity he was, in spite of what he had done. He put down his sword and walked away.
Could you ever get to that place in your own development where you'd be able to do what these brave women did, especially in the face of a hate-filled world urging all of us to do otherwise? They weren't extraordinary people like Gandhi or Mother Teresa. They were just ordinary people who were able to pull something up from deep inside themselves that changed their whole perspective. It's not that they stopped feeling their anger or loathing for the despicable acts done against them, they simply refused to be ruled by those feelings any longer.
Which makes them—and all of us—no different than my heroine Ayisha, whose father
ripped her away from the love of her life and handed her over to the king, in exchange for full ownership of his date farm. And that's only the beginning of Ayisha's trials ...
I hope you enjoy the book—as soon as it comes out.