My rating: ★★★★★
This story is about Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov – a young merchant who had everything until he was wrongfully accused of murder. In a blink of an eye, he lost everything, his family, his wealth, his life.
He would spend the next twenty-six years of his life in prison. It was there where he met Makar Semyonich, the real murderer. In the end, Makar confessed but Aksionov was already dead when his release order came.
I hate this story, seriously. What a way to live. As a Catholic, I have been raised not to hold hatred in my heart, only love and forgiveness. While it is true that a person will not be able to move forward unless s/he forgives, I can’t help but feel the unfairness of life in this story. Aksionov spent twenty-six years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and that’s it? Sometimes I can’t help but feel that life is a load of crap, nothing more. That there’s nothing profound about it. I get that the moral of the story is forgiveness, but did Aksionov have to spend twenty-six years in prison just so he could learn how?
Still, I gave this story five stars because of the truth that it represents. In this life, we all have our own prisons and crosses to bear.
Twenty-six years ago, the man I loved like a father was murdered and the man who committed the crime was freed. Twenty-five years ago, I had to watch how my four-year-old cousin got beaten time and again by his own father. He had a very poor constitution and eventually died.
To forgive is asking a lot. To not hold hatred in my heart is asking a lot. Ironically, I understood that the guy who knifed the person I loved was an addict and was not in his right frame of mind. I understood, too, that it wasn’t normal to whip a child the way my uncle did–that he must’ve been suffering some type of illness–that’s why he did what he did. What I couldn’t forgive is myself. I wasn’t Kuya Tito’s child, I didn’t want to be a bother so I shunned him. How was I to know we would only have nine years together? How was I to know that my cousin would die before his 18th birthday? But I should have known. After all, he had a poor constitution as a result of the constant beating. I couldn’t forgive myself for not doing the things I should have done for them.
No, forgiveness does not come easy.
About this author:
His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.