Vietnam

4 thoughts on “Vietnam”

  1. Reblogged this on Cristina & Olivier Rebière (english) and commented:
    Well,

    What a beautiful, and sad, story about your dad and his friend “Big Joe”…
    What a beautiful story about… you.

    I know that it is sometimes difficult to have a serious discussion with parents who suffered a lot during the past: the wounds are not well healed and maybe they think we – the children – are not ready to hear their confessions. Sometimes they express themselves in awkward ways because they did not completely “heal” themselves and did not figure out everything completely… Even if we linger to hear these healing words, these phrases that will alleviate suffering and, most of all, the unknown, these “unspoken” things, the silence hurts so much because you just don’t know the truth. And it is unbearable. Sometimes life does not give you any chance: how many abandoned children or orphans do not know anything about their past? It is horrible…

    But your dad decided this was the right time for you to know a part of his past, a part of yours, he gave you another piece of the puzzle… He talked to you just like that, without warnings, out of the blue, and you were wise enough not to say anything stupid, but just hear his story and “align” yourself with him just like that, in a second… That is true wisdom 

    It is also clear to me that you had to go to Vietnam and make this first pilgrimage, because it won’t be the only one. You will have to go there maybe a couple of times more during your life in order to grasp the reality of this beautiful country, and correct your present “vision” (product of your strong feelings at the museum for example… but these feelings are “too strong”) about it in order to make your own, not the one you think it is for now… Because it is also your country in the end and you have to be at peace with it… And you will be 

    I think you will continue to write your book about your parents as you were told in Bali, because it is important to you, because you want to know what your “genesis” was. You have to build your own “past” in order to move on… that is why you are so eager to learn a lot of cultures and languages. So keep on learning !

    And, if you allow me to make a personal comment about your feelings, I would like to correct your assumption “the war made me”… It is bold, it is strong… but it is not entirely true. I would write “I am a child of love… Of a love born during the war…”.

    Please think of it. Please let this idea enter your mind peacefully, calmly. See if it will be yours someday, if you are OK with it: your parents fell in love in the middle of hell, their love was the first best thing they WANTED to create… The second thing, well… it is you : you are a child of love, not of war. Because I do not think they fell in love because of the war: the war was an “opportunity”, as the fall of the iron curtain was for me and Cristina… The love they lived was THEIR choosing, THEIR will, so you certainly were not any accident. You ARE not an accident. The war did not make you.

    You are a child of love.

    Olivier

  2. Well,

    What a beautiful, and sad, story about your dad and his friend “Big Joe”…
    What a beautiful story about… you.

    I know that it is sometimes difficult to have a serious discussion with parents who suffered a lot during the past: the wounds are not well healed and maybe they think we – the children – are not ready to hear their confessions. Sometimes they express themselves in awkward ways because they did not completely “heal” themselves and did not figure out everything completely… Even if we linger to hear these healing words, these phrases that will alleviate suffering and, most of all, the unknown, these “unspoken” things, the silence hurts so much because you just don’t know the truth. And it is unbearable. Sometimes life does not give you any chance: how many abandoned children or orphans do not know anything about their past? It is horrible…

    But your dad decided this was the right time for you to know a part of his past, a part of yours, he gave you another piece of the puzzle… He talked to you just like that, without warnings, out of the blue, and you were wise enough not to say anything stupid, but just hear his story and “align” yourself with him just like that, in a second… That is true wisdom 

    It is also clear to me that you had to go to Vietnam and make this first pilgrimage, because it won’t be the only one. You will have to go there maybe a couple of times more during your life in order to grasp the reality of this beautiful country, and correct your present “vision” (product of your strong feelings at the museum for example… but these feelings are “too strong”) about it in order to make your own, not the one you think it is for now… Because it is also your country in the end and you have to be at peace with it… And you will be 

    I think you will continue to write your book about your parents as you were told in Bali, because it is important to you, because you want to know what your “genesis” was. You have to build your own “past” in order to move on… that is why you are so eager to learn a lot of cultures and languages. So keep on learning !

    And, if you allow me to make a personal comment about your feelings, I would like to correct your assumption “the war made me”… It is bold, it is strong… but it is not entirely true. I would write “I am a child of love… Of a love born during the war…”.

    Please think of it. Please let this idea enter your mind peacefully, calmly. See if it will be yours someday, if you are OK with it: your parents fell in love in the middle of hell, their love was the first best thing they WANTED to create… The second thing, well… it is you : you are a child of love, not of war. Because I do not think they fell in love because of the war: the war was an “opportunity”, as the fall of the iron curtain was for me and Cristina… The love they lived was THEIR choosing, THEIR will, so you certainly were not any accident. You ARE not an accident. The war did not make you.

    You are a child of love.

    Olivier

  3. I just wanted to say thank you so much for your supportive and meaningful comments. It means so much to me!

    Yes, my dad didn’t talk about the war at all when I was younger. I think now that he’s older, he realizes that it’s now or never. Last time I was home, he talked to me about it almost as if he were finally releasing a long lost secret that he’s been dying to tell someone. I’m also glad to revive his friends, Big Joe and the priest, even through a humble little blog such as this. It’s memories that make a person.

    I also wanted to say you and Cristina, your amazing story that spans Romania and France and the entire world, is truly inspirational. You two, and your family, are also a miracle of love (and war)!

    It’s a strange feeling, to know that without such an atrocity, such as the Vietnam war, I would’t be here today. Same goes for you and Cristina. I don’t see it as a bad thing; but rather, a good thing. War, one of the worst atrocities to ever face mankind, can create a wealth of new opportunities and experience. War can even, in a strange way, create new life and love.

    Anyway, I imagine you’ve been to Vietnam before? You are very right in the fact that I will be back there. Vietnam is a truly magical place. I’ve been many places in the world, and Vietnam really touched me in a way no other country did (even by food standards alone). I have so much to learn about the country–and myself.

    Again, thank you so much for your supportive and truly wonderful comments. Hope you’re doing well!

  4. Mary,

    Blogging is to share something to other people.

    Correction: blogging is WILLING to share something to other people.

    We choose to blog for different reasons.

    To me, first, blogging is trying to go “fishing”: you carefully choose your byte, your location, pick up your preferred pole and other accessories, and finally prepare to catch a “fish” – the readers you would like to please or captivate. Sometimes I do it myself because I have some information or “good” opinion to tell…

    Secondly, another interpretation would be: you blog to throw a message in a bottle. Maybe someone will read the message and… deliver an “answer”, even if we do not really believe in this possibility.

    When I read your lines above a week ago, I was suddenly struck by the fundamental “error” you were making, naming wrongly the cause of your birth and your presence here on earth: you were choosing a wrong path to discover yourself. So I allowed myself to intervene and make something about your “bottle”. I crossed a line somehow. But I had to.

    I am happy that you give me thanks for my “support” (although I did it for you, not for the thanks or my ego), but the point is that sometimes, when you clearly see that something is going wrong, that someone is about to do a terrible mistake by “naming” a strong feeling, you must act, like a normal human being, “helping” another, acting like a “talking mirror”. Kindly. With soft words, in order to make the other person think and reflect about what he or she is going to make…

    Yes, I already was in Vietnam, and it was quite a disappointment. Not because of the people, the monuments and so on, but because of me. Because of the difference between what I was thinking I would see, and what was reality: yes, another misperception, another distortion of reality caused by ignorance. And, again, ignorance generates suffering. That is why I insist that you go back to Vietnam and “get used” to it, so that it will become something concrete, real, and so that you can let go any misperceptions you would have had of this country. Apart from what is your dad telling you. Because “his” Vietnam is already something of the past…

    So, in order to suffer less, you have to come close to reality, and accept it. That is why I wanted to “wake you up” a little bit.

    And about Vietnam: I admire its people, its culture, the history, its fierce resistance against invaders. As a Frenchman, I feel responsible for what happened in the “Indochine” of that time, even if I did not take part to the fighting back in 1954. I know about napalm, American invasion, massive destructions and killings. I feel so sad about it.

    And yes, you are right: war is an “opportunity”, the strongest one in fact. If you allow me to go on with the metaphors, I would say that playing the game of life is not trying to get the best cards on your hand. No. It is trying to play the best game you can with the cards you got at the very beginning. You do not choose these cards, of course. Life “gives” them to you. Now that your dad has begun to speak (and if you are wise enough to let him speak and stay still, if you take care to create the appropriate “quality time” with him, be sure that he will go on) you unveil some of the “hidden” cards of your own game.

    Sadly, your dad won’t be able to tell you all you want to know. Accept this fact. But be kind with him and with yourself. Forgive him. He is just a man. A courageous man until the end, because he has enough guts to tell you a part of YOUR story, because he is now exposed to your judgment, the opinion of a young and daring adult. So be grateful and smile to him with all your heart, even if he is not right now with you.

    You see, the world is small: one of the men I admire is Vietnamese. He is a monk. He changed my life in a way, when I began to read his simple and strong words. His name is Thich Nhat Hahn. If you have time to read only one book of him, try “Peace is every step”. It is enough. It will help you.

    Because, as you will see and as you noticed already, “words can heal”. His words healed me deeply. I am grateful to him.

    Writing to you about blogging, about words, I strongly believe in the value of correspondence: I am ready to have one with you, if you feel so. If you do not, I will continue to read your (b)log entries on the journey to finding yourself…

    Take care Mary,

    Olivier

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