She Was a Child Bride and She Has Something to Tell Us

Guest Blog by Stacy Parker Le Melle

I know that forgiveness is crucial to human harmony. I know I’m supposed to forgive my trespassers. But when called upon to actually forgive, I may be good at “letting go” and “moving on” but does anyone’s name ever leave that ledger inside my mind, the one that keeps track of those who have hurt me? I’m not sure. Though I know that forgiveness is the path to peace, the operative word–still– is know. Action is something else altogether.

Then I read a poem by Massoma, a writer in the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. I am floored. I have read this poem multiple times, and each time I am struck not just by what she has been through, but her generosity–the depth of which seems hard for me to even comprehend:

Forgiveness: A Prose Poem
By Massoma

My head exploded, full of their talking, talking. They talked and talked and sold me. They laughed, happy. I was sad and crying, had no power over this. I played, the child I was. I played, but had to go toward the life that would be mine. My head exploded, full of new talking. They talked and talked. I was not a good bride. I was not a perfect woman, because I was thirteen. My head exploded, full of their talking. They talked and talked and beat me. Filled with pain, I was a mother, but had nothing. I had forgiven, all of my life, move now toward my future, happy. My head exploded. My head exploded. I love my infant, my family. I have forgiven all–parents, husband, the government. I am happy. My baby laughs and I laugh. Life laughs, and I am happy.

Her baby laughs and she laughs. Life laughs, and she is happy. The beauty and hard-won hope in those lines fill me with awe. I am reminded of the greatness that humans have within them–because for me, this is greatness. If Massoma can forgive those who forced her to marry as a child, who treated her as chattel, who beat her when she disobeyed, I call on all of us to look at pains we carry, at the anger we can’t let go, and challenge ourselves to seek healing–to call on our reserves of love. And release.

Stacy Parker Le Melle is Workshop Director for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project and Author of “Government Girl: Young and Female in the White House.”

The Afghan Women’s Writing Project is a California-based organization whose mission is to support the voices of women with the belief that to tell one’s story is a human right. The Campaign for Love and Forgiveness is sponsored by the Fetzer Institute.

This blog is a shortened version of the original blog that was posted on June 13, 2013, in the Global Motherhood section of The Huffington Post.

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Categories: Courage, Future, Inherent Worth, Our Forgiveness Blog


  1. Beth says:

    Yes, we learn from others. And I have just learned from you. It is so much easier to “move on” especially if we can conveniently leave the other behind. The only real trouble with that is the illusion of it all. The one who hurt us is still in our heart affecting our every move, until we forgive.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Forgiveness is truly a heroic virtue. Massoma shows the heroism of the human spirit. She has challenged us all to dig a little more deeply into our cold and stoney hearts and to make them a little softer. I plan to try.

  3. Samantha says:

    “Hard-won hope.” This is an apt description of her path to forgiveness and peace. Now she knows that she has forgiveness right by her side whenever there is a supposedly hopeless situation in her life. Hopelessness has lost.

  4. John says:

    You show humility, Stacy, in your awe over what she did and what she had to endure. I find your humility refreshing. We need humility to forgive well, I think.

  5. Anthony says:

    “To call on our reserves to love”…….When we forgive we realize how much strength to love we really have. It can be amazing. I wish the world would encourage forgiveness more, but alas it does not. We need essays like this and websites like this to place the beauty of forgiveness ever before us.

  6. I want to thank the International Forgiveness Institute for posting this piece. And I wish to thank all of you for reading. Those of us at AWWP who have been focusing on the love & forgiveness project have been deeply touched by it. Basically the feeling has been: why haven’t we been doing this for years? It’s as if a veil has been pulled away. But it’s important to keep pushing ourselves to focus on love, to focus on forgiveness. Too easy to revert back into frames of mind that allow anger and the will to power to predominate. Again, thank you IFI for all that you do, and thank you, everyone here, for reading.


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