Facing the past

The idea of exploring our past to come to some kind of inner healing is not that old. Depending where you are in the world, it is probably only those who are just now becoming grandparents who really began to explore in a systematic or therapeutic setting how the past has shaped them.

That process tends to follow a similar pattern to grieving – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

We seem to be at a new phase now where we are having to face into the way the past has shaped us collectively. We seem to be caught in a perpetual loop of denial and anger. For some the pain is too evident to deny and the anger drips from every word. For others, the individual response – ‘I wasn’t there’, ‘It wasn’t my action; my choice’ predominates.

The question I have is how do we learn to move through all of this as a society together? Each country, each community has its own pain. This is work for humanity. This seems to me to be the work of the 21st century. Who will be our leaders?

2 thoughts on “Facing the past

  1. In Canada we are beginning to move through the pain of our treatment of our indigenous people. The first step is facing the fact that our predecessors felt entitled to take land from those who had been living on it. Then there were the other heinous acts of sending children away from their families to school and trying to remove their culture. The sad list goes on. In recent years there was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which had many recommendations that are slowly being discussed and brought forward. Our government now has as one of its priorities the commitment to work with the leaders of the indigenous people to try to right the wrongs as much as is possible; however, the deep work that needs to be done is in our own individual hearts – the admission that, although many of the events took place before the present generation of Canadians was alive, we are corporately responsible and thus, we need to make reparation in many different ways. We acknowledge that we live on land that belonged to certain native tribes. We acknowledge that discrimination continues although it is less overt. The list goes on. The government is a strong leader in this but the church must be as well – the Jesuits are playing a leading role in many different ways as well; however, the responsibility lies with each of us in our everyday lives to lead by example. This is the call of our Lord.

  2. “All our yesterdays have lighted fools …”, or so the bard thought. You pose a question as to who should lead us in this uncertainty into a more unknown future. May I suggest, mistress Laissez-faire, she is most seductive with her freedom offers, amnesia does become her, and like a lithesome coquet will play off right from wrong. Most of all, reckonings with costs and consequences do not dull her day. She borrows a motto from Grey, “Where ignorance is bliss, it’s folly to be wise”.

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