Monday, September 12, 2022

flawed and fragile



We are able to forgive because we are able to recognize our shared humanity.
 We are able to recognize that we are all fragile, vulnerable, flawed human beings
 capable of thoughtlessness and cruelty. We also recognize that no one is born evil
 and that we are all more than the worst thing we have done in our lives.
 A human life is a great mixture of goodness, beauty, cruelty, heartbreak,
 indifference, love, and so much more. We want to divide the good from the bad, 
the saints from the sinners, but we cannot. All of us share the core qualities 
of our human nature, and so sometimes we are generous and sometimes selfish. 
Sometimes we are thoughtful and other times thoughtless, sometimes we are kind
 and sometimes cruel. This is not a belief. This is a fact.

If we look at any hurt, we can see a larger context in which the hurt happened.
 If we look at any perpetrator, we can discover a story that tells us something
 about what led up to that person causing harm. It doesn’t justify the person’s actions;
 it does provide some context. . . .

No one is born a liar or a rapist or a terrorist. No one is born full of hatred.
 No one is born full of violence. No one is born in any less glory or goodness than you or I.
 But on any given day, in any given situation, in any painful life experience,
 this glory and goodness can be forgotten, obscured, or lost. We can easily be hurt and broken, 
and it is good to remember that we can just as easily be the ones who have 
done the hurting and the breaking.

We are all members of the same human family. . . .

In seeing the many ways we are similar and how our lives are inextricably linked, 
we can find empathy and compassion. In finding empathy and compassion, 
we are able to move in the direction of forgiving.

Ultimately, it is humble awareness of our own humanity that allows us to forgive:

We are, every one of us, so very flawed and so very fragile. I know that,
 were I born a member of the white ruling class at that time in South Africa’s past, 
I might easily have treated someone with the same dismissive disdain with which I was treated. 
I know, given the same pressures and circumstances, I am capable of the same monstrous acts
 as any other human on this achingly beautiful planet. It is this knowledge of my own frailty
 that helps me find my compassion, my empathy, my similarity,
 and my forgiveness for the frailty and cruelty of others.
 ~ Desmond Tutu and Mpho A. Tutu
 from The Book of Forgiving: The Foufold Path for Healing 
Ourselves and Our World
art by Leigh Wells

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

our children, coming of age

In the great circle, dancing in
and out of time, you move now
toward your partners, answering
the music suddenly audible to you
that only carried you before
and will carry you again.
When you meet the destined ones
now dancing toward you,
out of your awareness for the time,
we whom you know, others we remember
whom you do not remember, others 
forgotten by us all.
When you meet, and hold love 
in your arms, regardless of all,
the unknown will dance away from you 
toward the horizon of light.
Our names will flutter
on these hills like little fires.

~ Wendell Berry


Monday, September 5, 2022



You must become brother and sister
to each and every thing,
so that they flow through you
dissolving every difference
between what belongs to you and others.
No star, no leaf shall fall -
you fall with them -
to rise again
in every new beginning.
~ Hermann Hesse
from The Season of the Soul
art by Picasso

Friday, September 2, 2022

the way


Friend, this is the only way
to learn the secret way:

Ignore the paths of others,
even the saints' steep trails.

Don't follow.
Don't journey at all.

Rip the veil from your face.
~ Sachal Sarmast
English version by Ivan M. Granger