I believe that every human being is worthwhile–that each person in my life brings with them opportunities to learn. My Buddhist teacher once told me that it’s easy to love when I’m walking in the desert or having dinner with friends, but when I’m tested, when it’s hard to love, this is when I do my work; this is where I practice; this is how I evolve.
It seems universally accepted that pedophiles are monsters. Go ahead and ask anyone and they’ll tell you. There’s a line in a movie I saw recently where a woman is asking a lawyer whether he would defend a murderer, a rapist, a wife-beater, and to each of these he says that he would because, in our system of justice, everyone is entitled to a vigorous defense. But when she asks if he would defend a pedophile he immediately says that he would not.
I awoke one day five years ago and stumbled on my husband’s secret: He is a pedophile. He is a monster.
But he’s also been my greatest teacher. No, our marriage couldn’t survive this betrayal–his illness–but over the years, with practice, I have come to find compassion for the little boy who was so brutally harmed that he became this man. And, despite my own childhood of abuse, I have found my way to love him again, this time unconditionally. And the most beautiful thing has happened: In walking this path through the fire to love, my heart has opened, my own wounds healed. As it happens, the greatest sorrow of my life has given me my greatest joy.
And I’ve come to see that by knowing what he is and loving him anyway, I have become HIS teacher, slowly guiding him, by example, away from self-loathing. This, in turn, opens him to his own healing.
I believe that every single life, no matter my prejudices, is worthwhile; that every person offers me the opportunity to grow. Before I choose judgement, I strive to love, especially when love seems impossible to find.
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