A few years ago I had the pleasure of seeing Kim Phuc speak to a packed house of over 500 people. Kim Phuc was made famous at the tender age of 9 when the disturbing image of the little girl, captured immediately following her Vietnam village being napalmed, was sent around the world. The image, eventually capturing a Pulitzer Prize, was one that would change the face of war forever.
Listening to Kim speak about the day of the napalm, the burning of her skin, the 14 months she spent in hospital and the 17 surgeries to repair her badly burned skin was stomach churning.
But, in the end, Kim’s message is one of forgiveness. She uses a cup of coffee to describe her heart, once full of darkness and anger. She speaks of her long journey to forgiveness as time she used to pour out the dark coffee from her heart. Once gone, the dark coffee (feelings of anger, despair and blame) was replaced with clear, refreshing water. Kim’s heart is now full of peace, hope, happiness, love and joy.
Kim’s story was extrodinary and her message was clear. Forgiveness is necessary in order to be free of the dark coffee in our hearts. First, we must pour it out. Then, we are ready to accept all the good that life has to offer us.