Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Phenomenal People

     We were graced with the presence of many extraordinary people in India from the travel agents that welcomed us at the airport to the hotel hosts that never seemed annoyed with our constant demands for water. I know that our trip would have been much less meaningful without each and every person we encountered including the beggars because they taught us to appreciate every one's contribution to the human experience.
      Again I hold many people in India dear, but I must say that some people touched my life in a major way, a way that my heart won't forget. For instance when Bagdro laughed the world seemed a little smaller and lot less scary. Bagdro was tortured, jailed, and beaten by the Chinese government before he was able to escape Tibet and enter Northern India which was a thirty day ordeal for him. I couldn't find the humor in that situation had it been me. Somehow Bagdro does  though and he spreads peace and love at the same time. He mastered the art of patience and has learned the best fight does not have to entail violence. The Dalai Lama taught him to use his words to fight and helped him find freedom in forgiveness. Now Bagdro is pursuing justice in a different and much more effective manner. When he spoke he used the word happy the most. Even if he had never said it I could sense his happiness and inner peace through his laughter. I was almost confused by how he could tell us this gruesome story about what happened to him and still be laughing in between sentences. I began to think to myself how can I ever call myself "angry". I'm sorry if anyone disagrees but we really have nothing to be angry about if this man can be beaten within inches of his life and still smile. I was reminded how we allow minuscule things to dictate our emotions and cause us to hate. Bagdro is my inspiration because he taught me there is no reason to allow anyone to steal your joy no matter what they may do, you can not allow anyone to break your spirit. He never did.
     When speaking of inspiring people there is no way I could forget the staff and children of Tong Len. They literally welcomed us with open arms. They held our hands and gave us a tour of their rooms with great pride. They wanted to share their world with us and they were so proud of everything they had. I couldn't help but think of how ungrateful we can be here in the states while these children were content with so little. The way they give love so freely and easily is something this world could use more of. They unknowingly challenged us all to recommit ourselves to service and making sure children understand the value of education because that is exactly what Tong Len is committed to.

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