Gretchen Rubin

In which a man from Bangladesh asks me about the Amish.

People came from many different countries to attend this wedding in Chennai. At the Pradhanam, the dinner given by the bride’s family the night before the ceremony, I sat next to a heart surgeon from India who had just helped start a hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

He told me all about the work he was doing in Dhaka and what the conditions were like there—then, to my surprise, he wanted to ask me about the Amish people. He’d read news stories about the shootings of the five Amish schoolgirls.

He’d been stunned, he told me, by the way that the victims’ families had forgiven the killer. He found this so remarkable that he’d been using the Internet to find out as much as he could about the Amish and their beliefs.

“How could they show this forgiveness?” he asked. “I would never be able to forgive. But the murderer’s wife was invited to the funerals of the girls. This is a very great thing to do.”

I’d been thinking a lot about this story, myself. And to think that news of this generosity of spirit had traveled all around the world, to capture the imagination of a man in Bangladesh – that struck me as truly extraordinary.

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