I happened across the movie The Railway Man, staring Colin Firth. It’s based on a true story of a British Prisoner of War, Eric Lomax, who had experienced terrible cruelty and torture in a Japanese internment camp during WWII. It had left its mark on him, making his life miserable. The rage and pain ate him up.
There are many differences between the true story and the movie, but not in terms of what Lomax suffered, or in the outcome of his reconnection with his Japanese tormentor, Takashi Nagase, years later.
Eric’s second wife, Patti, was instrumental in helping this reconciliation along. After Lomax had discovered that Nagase was alive, Patti wrote Nagase and asked him how he could feel forgiven if one of those he had harmed had not yet forgiven him. His response prompted Lomax to travel to see Nagase: The dagger of your letter thrusted me into my heart to the bottom.
From this beginning, Eric eventually travelled to Thailand with Patti to meet Nagase. By making this trip, he not only redeemed his own life, but did so for Nagase as well. As he wrote in his book ”Meeting Nagase has turned him from a hated enemy, with whom friendship would have been unthinkable, into a blood-brother. If I’d never been able to put a name to the face of one of the men who had harmed me, and never discovered that behind that face there was also a damaged life, the nightmares would always have come from a past without meaning.
There simply isn’t a way to spoil the movie for anyone wishing to see it. If you do, be warned that it is graphic and accurate in it’s portrayal of the harsh treatment prisoners of war experienced. It’s hard to watch. And yet, the message is all the more powerful for that.
In our everyday lives, we encounter people and circumstances that are unfair and hurtful. Perhaps we, too, can remember that we all have histories, and that we are all doing the best we can.
Quote of the Day
Those who choose, even on a small scale, to love in the midst of hatred and fear are the people who offer true hope to our world. – Henri Nouwen
At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations. For more information, visit my websitewww.thejoyofliving.co/programs or contact me directly firstname.lastname@example.org