Monday, September 15, 2008

Memory Of Loss

Gladys Staines in happer times with her entire family in Orissa

Aditi Raja talks to Gladys Staines, in PEOPLE magazine, September 26, 2008
"When a brutal act of violence took her family from her, Gladys Staines decided to forgive her malefactors. How does one ever get over loss of beloved ones? On Jan 22, 1999, a crowd burnt to death her husband, Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines, and their two minor sons, Timothy and Phillip, while they slept in a station wagon at Manoharpur village, Keonjhar dustrict, Orissa. Today, a nurse in a hospital in Queensland, Australia, where she moved in 2004, Gladys puts a stoic face on the past, believing in the power of prayers to heal. The recent violence in Orissa is something she is praying will stop. “ India has been known for tolerance, we must live in harmony, respecting each other.” She says.

After spending over 20 years in India – raising her family in Orissa, India remains an unshakable memory in Gladys’s life. “I miss my Indian friends the most, but I also miss Indian food, the aromas or smells associated with life in India”. On accasions when she gives talks in India, she wears a sari and often cooks Indian food with her 22-year-old daughter, Esther.

Since she left India, Gladys has put her efforts into regaining her nursing registration and conducting lecture tours about the leprosy work being done in Orissa. She visits India often, the plan being to expand the Graham Staines Memorial Hospital in Baripada in Orissa.

Memories of her own tragedy remain fresh, she says. “ I am human with feeling and emotions. There are times when I feel low but not to the point of despairing or giving up”. She decided to forgive the killers immediately, which helped the healing process. There are moments that return, such as a poem Graham liked: “ Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, day after day it is gone…..till youth like a vision is gone…..then until death says NOW”. “ I miss his companionship, love and when there are decisions to make”, she says her grief palpable……”

Loss of a beloved, to death, or to another person, or in any way, is a living pain one continues to live with, forever carrying it in the recesses of the mind. If the death is one, which has been brutal, then, no answers can be found. There is shock, disbelief and anger, which are natural in these circumstances. And in spite of it all, there and then, if one is able to forgive the killers of ones husband and two sons, let me tell you it takes a lot of courage and belief to get to that stage. Recently, we had Priyanka Gandhi Vadhera who took the time off to finally go and meet her father’s, the late Rajiv Gandhi’s killer, in the jail. Why did she do that? Because, until one forgives, there is no closure to the pain one goes through and when one forgives the other, one is able to move on. A Psychological fact that there is a shift in the way we think about ourselves and those who have harmed us. The bitterness is no more and we can really put the past behind us, and move on with our lives.

That is exactly what happened with Gladys. Only thing is that she was able to move on faster and look what she is doing – talking on India, visiting India frequently to work on the Hospital for lepers in the memory of her late husband, Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines. That is something, we can all learn from and use it as an example of a blessed Christian life.
~~~ ~ With hope for a new dawn ~~~~

Other posts by me on the Shameless Hate Tirade against our brothers and sister of Christian faith by fascist Hindu goodas - In Bad Faith

The ugly face of Hindutva movement and Bajrang dal fascists and its extreme intolerance to Christians, Shame! Woe To You, you who destroy the basic tenets of Hinduism – tolerance of all religions.


Amrita said...

That was a beautiful post Julia. There is power in forgiveness. You just release the person.

I had to exert that power today, when a relative of mine (old widow lady) who has always been mean to us did domething to make my blood curdle. We have alway helped her and gone out of way to asist her and her late husband, but she strikes back at us with hatred.

Forgiveness is not easy Julia, it comes when God gives you strength.

Esther Stains was in schhol with my nephew in Hebron School , Ooty.
I am amzed at the way Gladys responded.

Priyanka 's gesture is also very heroic.

Julia Dutta said...

Dear Amrita,
So nice to see you here. Oh yes, like I say, for real spiritual awakening to happen in one's life, one needs to have God's grace, similarly, to forgive, God must first open our hearts. With Gladys, it was instant. With Priyanka, it took a while. With you it too is often instant, but for many it never happens. How very sad really.
Dear Amrita, what a great family you come from, so many friends and relatives who are "Christ people". I feel fortunate to even have come across you, albeit only on www.

Julia Dutta said...

The basing Of Christians continue the pocket of India!! Please view Amrita to read more. For my part
I was happy when talking to Rajdeep Sardesai of CNNIBN,on Sunday 28th September, 2008, the great lyricist, Javed Akhtar, said in no uncertain terms, that we cannot look at terrorists always as Muslims, but must begin to look at the other terrorists growing in number, right under the nose of the Government – the RSS and Bajrang Dal and other fascist groups out to show power by taking lives in the name of conversion.

We are aware of the hideous ruling that has given Narendra Modi a clean chit after the whole India knows, he was responsible for Godra. In fact, Modi has said it in so many words, that it was the best thing that happened to Muslims after their centuries of looting and killings in India. SHAME! We as Indian must bite dust, because, Sanathan dharma which is the root of Hinduism teaches only respect for all life and it is exactly why, the basic tenet of Hinduism is tolerance of all religion. Alas! We are in the grip of criminals, touting the pride of their religion, which they call Hindu, in order to kill and loot, to oppress and disown the basic right to existence of those they kill. Deprive of a respectable place in society and treat as scum. Shame, this India, where politicians only give lip service and do not bring to guillotine, or hang those who kill masses of Christians in the name of religion. We have reached an abysmal bottom and in fact, if in fact, the Hindus themselves do not rise to cry against this new face of terrorism in India, the very religion Hinduism will die. Lakhs of Hindus take to Buddhism or to Christianity, to even Islam, because, they need dignity of life. There is absolutely no harm if one changes ones religion. After all, true religiosity is in the heart and I must be able to have a personal relationship with my God, to be committed to a religion. I must be able to say my Our father in heaven, Holy be thy name, with equal ease and spontaneity as I can say, Buddham Saranam gacchami and in the same breath also bow to the words of the Gita, which teaches me to do my duty, not look for the fruits. As a truly religious person, I belong to Christ as much as the Buddha, or to Durga. But, to force me to be only one, or kill me because I say, I am not really a Hindu in practice but in Philosophy, is murder and such murderers must meet the same fact as a rapist, or a criminal in India – be jailed, or be hanged.

I wonder why the Government is taking so long to act upon it? Is this State and Centre – sponsored massacre of poor Christians? Or their vote bank politics have now begun to stare in the face of the world as bloodstained?

I fear, the latter.

I know of many Christians who are my friends, from Nainital and in Bengal as well, who were Brahmins, who converted to Christianity. And I know, many who don’t have education and are starving, and they have got food for thought and stomach, because Christ, came and lifted them up from their state. I believe, the knife, the sword, the gun is the face of true insecurity of right wing Hindus and in the long run, they can only lose. When Christ, or a Buddha comes to someone’s door, no orange, or obnoxious tikkas can keep the inmate from being lifted by God.

This is called free will. I hold out my hand in desperation, the Lord will pick me up and carry me to safety.

Come what may!

Amrita said...

Well expressed Julia, wish the news papers would publish this, please send it to HT and TOI.

I didn 't know you were on the Weekend Edition. What a shame.
I started watching it and felt sleepy, Javed Akhtar was speaking when i switched off and went to bed.

If they have a video I 'll log on.If you are on any TV prog. Send me an email I 'll watch and tell all my friends too.

Love, Amrita