Friday, March 31, 2006

Mean Streets Run Through Wounded Hearts

Desmond Tutu described the meaning of the African word Umbuntu
"Umbuntu: my humanity is inextricably caught up in yours. What affects one of us, affects all of us. A person is a person through other persons"

I looked back over the list of my posts here and I started to see a theme emerge...the posts about images that surface and won't let go -- the Lenten discipline of forgiveness -- the posts about Vietnam -- posts about interrelatedness. My threads of thought here seem to be woven around the healing of memory - my own and others. I find myself reading things by Desmund Tutu and Thich Naht Hahn lately.

I think that the healing of memory is a journey we all have to make, individually and as a nation -- and by all the subgroups leading up to 'nation' -- by family, and community.

Socrates said ,"An unexamined life is not worth living." It is also true that an unexamined life is not whole, and may cause unintentional harm to ourselves and those around us.

The lenses through which we see and experience the world are shaded by our prior experience. If we have walked down Main Street and been greeted in a friendly way, the next time we go we will feel well-disposed to being there. If we walk down Main Street and get mugged, our next visit will include fear. Or, we may never walk down Main Street again; or we will generalize things and decide to not walk down streets again but to drive. Or we stay at home, too frightened to leave. Or perhaps we start carrying a gun down Main Street. Or down every street. Or we start a campaign to destroy Main Street.

Or maybe we take some action to heal the fear. To get what happened in perspective. To focus on healing the perpetrator at the same time that we focus on protecting ourselves.

It seems that the healing of memory may include reaching out to the one who tore the fabric of events,who scarred the lens.

But this is one person, one event. Look around. Think big. Think nation-as-person.

We are a nation of unhealed wounds -- from the destruction wrought on Native peoples, through slavery, through what we have done to our warriors, including the wars we have asked them to fight.

When you walk down the streets of the American Dream, listen. That is weeping you hear in the background. It is the sound of an unhealed nation. A nation full of amazing people, humble greatness, and deep, deep wounds.

But be aware, you will hear the same sound in Iraq, Germany, Israel, France, Kenya, Australia, England, Chile..anywhere in the world.

The world we live in is wounded.

We are called to heal. To realize that when we look in the mirror, we should see someone else's face, and they should see ours.


Blogger beth said...

My eyes were opened tonight in watching 'The Constant Gardener'. A wounded world, a world of hurt...

11:42 PM  
Blogger Miss Eagle said...

Im Australia, there is weeping: the wounds of the peoples of the First Nations; the maltreated and deeply wounded asylum seekers and refugees kept in concentration camps called detention centres. Hundreds of thousands of Australians have marched - to say sorry to the first Australians; to prevent war but those who are elected to speak for the nation will not listen, will not register that they even hear. Fortunately, blessedly, there are those who continue to subvert the attitudes of deaf and ignorant powerful people by their actions of reconciliation, healing and hospitality. So there are two parallel universes in operation. If only they could be connected in humanness and compassion one for another.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Maggie Rose said...



3:19 PM  
Anonymous said...

Your post really touched me. I recognize my need for healing as I want so badly to provide healing in my family, my community, my country. I had searched for 'umbuntu' when my niece sent me a conversation that included the word.
I'm a 56 yr old woman with a man friend with the same Aquarius birthday as me: January 24
I'm not really 'into' astrology, but nonetheless recognize a certain sympathetic desire to heal.
Anyway, enjoyed your blog.
Denise L

1:21 PM  

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