In this post I share an interfaith story of salvation from a peacemaker whom I met via Twitter, He lives on the opposite side of the planet, twelve time zones away.
Hilman started retweeting my messages posted from @interfaithr, the Twitter account associated with this blog, Interfaith Reflections. I’m always grateful for RTs, but his gave me pause. “Death: War-God” is the recurring phrase in his posts, a kind of motto. The graphic on his profile page (see a portion of it to the left) is strange and macabre: a face with two halves, one death-like, the other radiantly beautiful.
So off-putting were my initial impressions that I was about to check the little box that would block any future tweets from Hilman, but then I noticed that his Twitter handle, like his graphic, connotes at least a tension if not a struggle between good and evil, darkness and light. His handle is HilmanVsHellman. Wow, I thought, this guy is interesting! It didn’t take long for curiosity to outweigh my fear. I direct-messaged him:
“Ur graphic intrigues me. Could we have a Skype chat?”
He answered immediately. We set our meeting for 7 a.m. my time, 7 p.m. his. Video didn’t work for us, but text chatting did.
He typed, “Why does my graphic intrigue U?”
I answered, “My first impression was how dark it is. The left half looks like a skull. Scary! Then I noticed that the right half of the face isn’t scary. I also noticed that your Twitter name, HilmanVsHellman, expresses with words what your graphic says visually. Your motto is also intriguing: Death: War-God. R U resisting those who claim that God wants war?
The little pencil in my chat window began to move. Hilman was typing a response:
“Yes, Mr. Tom. U R correct.”
I wanted to know more.
“What is the VS about in your Twitter name? And how did you get interested in interfaith peacemaking?” I typed.
For the next half hour Hilman’s little pencil moved furiously. English is not his first language, but readers will have no difficulty following his story. He gave me permission to share it with you here:
When i was kid, I discriminated by others because I’m Tionghoa (race and minority in Indonesia), ex-communicated by others because i’m mute, and by my parents.
But in my journey I find my Islam mentor when at Eid Adha. In that moment, I friendly with some goats and buffaloes because no one want to become my friend (except one person, he is Muslim and he is the best gift what I got from God).
When Eid Adha happened at first i don’t understand what is the purpose of that event. I’m mad with Muslims because they genocide my friends. But my friend have uncle. He will become my Islam mentor. I tell my anger to him.
I think (when i was a kid) i slapped or something like that. He gently explain what is purpose of Adha. And (i think) he know that i discriminated by everyone and in past i have anger with Christians in my church also.
I told him about my anger.
And next day he introduce me to My Teacher (he is Bishop in Ambon)..So Jesus save my life by send Christian and Muslim in my life as my teachers.
In the first moment i think I got call from God against Children Abuse (i ever told you that my whole team (friends) are victims of abuse?) So my team express our Anger by violence (because it make sense, and was quick way for us in that moment).
While making war against parents who love to abuse their childrens, we also meet racism.
And once again we against it by violence.
In that moment all of us in condition of addicted drugs.
But, my teacher (because i’m Catholic) and my Islam mentor, teach my Muslim friends, guide us how to defeat racism and child abuse by kindness.
While we fix ourselves from drugs, we learn together about Christianity (Catholic) and Islam from them.
What in Hilman’s story moves you? Perhaps in a comment you might share something about your own journey from darkness to light.