War is a terrible thing. It kills. It destroys. It orphans.
In WWII, 62-78 million lost their lives. In the Korean War 2.5 million North and South Koreans were killed/wounded. In Viet Nam War, more than 3 million North and South Viet Namese, Combodians, and Laotians were lost their lives. (source: Wikipedia)
During the Korean War in 1950, tens of thousands of children lost their parents and became homeless. Many roamed the streets begging for food in blustery winter cold and in suffocating summer heat. Fortunate few found shelters in orphanages.
One day I followed Mother to an orphanage. As we entered the gate, I saw half a dozen boys lined up in black uniforms with their heads shaved like prisoners of war. They were around 10 years old. They all turned and looked at me. I stood motionless feeling uneasy, realizing that I had my mother next to me while those orphans stood alone without their mothers next to them.
This image still haunts me with the questions: What did I do right having my mother next to me? What did they do wrong, not having their mothers next to them?
I didn’t know the answer, but the image of those children prompted me to seek peace and brotherhood at home, at work, or wherever I may be. As more people search for peace and brotherhood, I believe, there will be less conflict in the world — less killing, less orphans, and less suffering.
I wrote the following dialogue a few years back. It’s a dialogue between an old man and a child who lost his family and whose house was destroyed by a bomb from the sky the night before:
“You have not had a drink since this morning.”
“You have not eaten at all.”
“Come, Child. Come home with me,” urged the worried old man. “You need a drink and some food in your tummy, and rest.”
“I don’t want to go,” replied the child, sitting on a pile of broken beams, torn plaster, shattered glasses and scattered furniture. “This is my home. My mom is down there. My dad is there. My sister is there. All under this pile.”
“I know… But…,” the old man paused. “Come up just for a few minutes. I will clean the cuts on your hands and face before they get infected. Look, your feet are badly cut from broken glass. They need to be taken care of.”
“I don’t care,” the child replied with empty weariness in his voice. “My family is here under the pile. I want to be close to them.”
His round eyes showed deep fatigue. His eyes were emptied of tears. Weariness from the frantic, desperate search was etched in his tender face, covered with dirt and dried blood. His pajamas were torn from nails and splintered beams. His hands were black, like those of coal miners, clutching onto his toy tiger, the only one he found in the pile. He sat on a fallen beam above his room, blankly staring into space.
The old man turned his gaze toward the heaven as if he wanted to find the anwer.
What has this child done?
He did not ask to be born.
He did not ask for war.
Just yesterday, I saw him jumping around carefree.
Now he is alone, sitting on the pile.
Who will look after him?
Where will he go from here?
Without the warmth of his parents,
Without their guiding hands,
How will he journey through life?
Slowly, the old man turned to the child and kneeled down behind him. The old man reached out and gently held the child in his arms. The child closed his eyes. There were no tears. Just an emptiness on his face…
Peace, peace, peace,
Where are you?
I have been searching all over for you.
Wherever you are
Please come on out
Please dwell with us as our family.
Come and dwell with us,
O Precious one
Come and dwell with us.
Come and dwell with us.
Peace… Peace… Peace.
Today’s thought: I will never know why I am more blessed than some others, but I can do something for them, the less blessed.