But of course my other sister would not be intimidated and did the forbidden - forcing my older sister to fly into action.
Smack, smack, smack, they bounced around the room. Things went flying!
The door at the bottom of the stairs opened and my father's deep voice asked, "What's going on up there?"
"I'm just kissing my sister."
There was a moment's bewildered hesitation then the door closed and the action continued - 100 bouncing smacks that left them both exhausted and laughing.
That was probably the extent of violence I ever witnessed in our home growing up. You have to remember that I grew up in a Mennonite home where to this day we can't remember our parents ever really disagreeing on anything in front of us. The only thing we remember is that on the rare occasion my mother would take my father's hand and they would go into the bedroom to talk.
After the murder of Candace my world changed. Culture shock! I now belonged to a victim world seething with violence.
After encountering my own murderous thoughts, I found myself intrigued with the revenge fantasies of others in the group. One quiet gentleman, whose daughter had been killed, said that he would take the killer to the woods and very slowly skin him alive, let him heal and then do it again and again. The worst of all tortures - and this from a well-mannered, law-abiding, church-going father.
As one of the leaders of the group I was suppose to help - but how? The rage was justified. There were no answers - except of course "to forgive" but that word was forbidden. I was left with the question how does one create a shift in someone who is "stuck" without using the word.
One day as I was having a mild venting conversation with my son about some issue back home, he responded in a way that shifted something deep inside of me. I stopped! Looked at him in amazement. "What did you just do?" I asked him.
At that time he was taking a psychology course by Dr. David Martens and was learning the art of evocative empathy, defined as "communicating understanding of the other persons intended message, especially the message based on an experience making it both an intellectual and an emotional process."
I was so impressed - we actually persuaded Dr. Martens to come and teach this evocative art of listening in a mini course for our volunteers working with victims of serious crime. It was highly successful and life changing - and I will explore the power of evocative empathy more in the heart quadrant.
At this point in time, I found it was hard to learn. I was missing something. Watching me struggle, Dr. Martens asked me if I knew what lay behind the fundamental need for revenge fantasies in victims of serious crime. Without any hesitation I said it was anger. In my victim world it was uncontrollable rage.
He shook his head. "It's fear," he said. I didn't agree with him and I told him so. The group agreed with me.
"Behind the rage -- look for the fear," he said softly.
Then he started to unravel the fear that presents itself in our reactions to anything that threatens our sense of safety. We were learning the fundamental truth that our body wants more than anything else in the world - just to survive.. Apparently our greatest fear is that of death, pain - and suffering.
We just want is to "be" and "feel" perfectly safe. And if anyone dares to challenge our "perfect" safety - we react.
Except no one is perfect - not even ourselves.
So we live in fear.
I think fearless is having fears but jumping anyway. - Taylor Swift