Early this year, I lost faith in the humanity of my Korean friends – or rather of Koreans who I thought were my friends.
You see, when you spend years living in the Middle East, as much as you don’t want to generalize people, but because of recurring experiences with certain nationalities you end up putting people in a box.
So when a group of South Koreans, who I trusted so much, created chaos in our home and in my life, my brain started to put them in a box with a label too revolting, I don’t have the guts to share.
Just when I was starting to develop trauma and animosity towards the Korean people, my best friends flew in!
This is not the first time these 2 showed up in the most unexpected time in my life.
As if they knew I was spiraling down, Faith and Kukhee came right on time to save me from developing a deeper hatred towards a race of people.
But really, they didn’t fly home from Canada just for me. Faith’s grandmother died that week and they came home to bury her.Since Faith and I grew up together, I was Mamang’s adopted grandchild. She saw us grow from mischievous kids to thriving adults. She taught us how to be kind to others especially to visitors living in our home.
During her wake, I was reunited with old friends and classmates. Meeting them again gave me a huge boost of comfort and confidence to dispel the fabricated lies and accusations from my so-called ‘friends’.
My long-time friends know my history and track record. They’ve seen my ups and downs. And they can prove that I am not a person who will sacrifice my morals over money.
My best friend took time to listen to my many questions about the Koreans’ way of thinking. Talking to her, I was able to process some of the turmoil raging inside me. We cried, we laughed, we prayed.
Seeing and hugging Kukhee again made most of my anger go away. I remembered the many crucial times he has supported me, and I was willing to forgive half of South Korea because of him. Haha. But really, it’s amazing how one good friend could erase racial contempt in a person’s heart.
For several years, Kukhee has lived and studied (and even got married) in my hometown. He understood the Filipino culture and made no excuses for the behavior of his countrymen. Even when his schedule was full, he took every opportunity to spend time with our team and cheer us up! Kukhee, Faith and I are pastors’ kids. We grew up bombarded with preachings on being kind to others and loving our enemies. We did try to practice these values in many seasons of our lives. But we’ve noticed that as we grew older, the kind of enemies we faced are those harder to love.
I ask myself now, is there a boundary between being merciful and being a pushover? Should I always let it go when people do me wrong? Where do I draw the line between being loving and being a wimp?
I have yet to resolve some leftover bitterness in my heart. But I trust that in time, like all the past injustices in my life, I will one day wake up filled to the brim with God’s amazing love, it will freely overflow to my enemies.
For now, I will have to decide if my heart can love a South Korean again. Is it hello or goodbye, Wookie?