We live in partisan times in America.
Depending on where we stand politically,
we see different problems, but everyone seems to agree we have problems.
We yearn for peace.
Yet peace is not possible without “liberty and justice for all.”
Or, to use the framework that John Paul Lederach teaches, derived from Psalm 85,
Truth and Mercy have met together.
Justice and Peace have kissed.
What can save us?
One small step we can take is to tell stories and listen to stories.
Stories were at the heart of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa in the 1990s.
We don’t have a national structure for this kind of story telling.
Until we do, we can at least start with personal ones.
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s character Alyosha, in the novel The Brothers Karamazov (1880), says,
My dear children . . . you must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If one carries away many such memories into life, one is safe to the end of one’s days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may be the means of saving us.
So, let’s start there.
Think of your most cherished memory of childhood, of home. What makes it sacred? How does it make you feel?
I am reading this book now:
This book says that revolutionary love is the call of our times. As the book jacket declares:
This love is a “radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead looks at others and says: You are a part of me I do not yet know. Starting with that place of wonder, the world begins to change.
So, what one story, preserved from home or childhood (or anytime, any place), has come to your mind? Please give us a taste of your story below. After you have written your story, seek out a person different from you. Say you have an assignment. Ask them to tell you one “good, sacred memory” from childhood. Listen carefully. Find a small part of yourself you don’t yet know and share your gratitude for the gift.