When I was in my early twenties, and speaking at a national forum in Ottawa, an elderly man came up to me afterwards wanting to talk. I turned and reached out my hand to greet him and before I knew it, he had me in a hug. “You are a Saint,” he whispered into my ear. Then he released me and stood back. There were tears in his eyes.
I was deeply embarrassed and assured him I was certainly NOT a Saint. I had made so many mistakes in my life. Newly released from my teenage years, married and mother of 2 children at that point, I was acutely aware of my shortcomings in the “Saint” department. I explained to him that I was certainly NOT a “Saint.”
He smiled and patted my hand and said, “You do not understand what a Saint is then. A Saint is not someone who has never sinned. A Saint is someone who, having sinned, has done the right thing and used that to go on and do amazing things. Thank you for being a Saint in so many people’s lives and for inspiring me today.”
It made me seriously question my own ideas because often we require people to be all or nothing. It reminded me that everyone is a work in progress and that the only thing that really matters is the intent of our hearts and the evidence of that intent.
We have to go forward with love and healing.
We talk about the wars and hate that surrounds our globe. We wonder how that can be and yet we are not willing to search our own hearts and see how we live our lives steeped and perpetuating hate instead of love and healing. I cannot believe the amount of hate that is found in family courts, where families battle one another over children, using them as weapons against one another. Children do not know how to hate. Children do not hate their parents, strangely not even the ones who are abusing them. They are taught to hate.
Spreading out you have friends and family of those people in the courts. If I were supporting my children to say or do unkind things against their ex partners my husband would call me on it immediately. I would not dare mention it to friends because they too, would say something to me about it being mean, or inappropriate, or making it harder on the kids. And yet these people do the most horrific things and are supported by their network. They are spreading hate and teaching it, they are multiplying it across our communities.
Hate has never fixed a single problem anywhere.
It is the mentality that this is a competition, that life is a competition and only one person can be the winner – that focus being on the parents in this situation. No-one considers that despite which parent “wins,” the child loses.
You can point fingers at other people and talk about what you think they did or didn’t do years ago – you might even be right. But people change and even criminals are eventually released for time served. People can choose to not have someone in their life for whatever reason. BUT when you cross the line and you start inserting yourself into their business and trying to turn other people against them and doing everything you can to make their life miserable, then YOU are the awful person. I don’t care what you think the other person did.
Those who hold others forever accountable for past misdeeds are seldom perfect themselves. It becomes apparent as you grow up that the people so anxious to villainize others either are guilty of the very thing they accuse the other people of or have something they so desperately need to hide, they want to distract you. No person is all good or all bad. We are all blendings of strengths and weaknesses. A grounded person knows this and would never stand before others professing perfection. It is only the weak who pretend it is even possible and assign themselves to always be the hero.
Years have passed since the gentleman made his comment and more than a reflection on who I am, it has stuck in my mind as a reflection on people. For some, all there is to life is the competition. They will get all they can get, climbing over others, denigrating them, using them, lying , stealing … anything to keep up their illusion. Then there are people who live their lives, many quietly, who have tried and failed, lived and learned, loved and grown. THOSE are the people I hope to know, to learn from, to have in my life.
I am not threatened or put down by those who choose to attack me, I am sad for them.
Nothing is going to change in this world until human beings change their hearts. If a glass of water can be rendered life giving or life denying by taping on words like “love” or “hate,” then it matters what we think and do. If our own bodies do the same, create life affirming or life denying chemistry based on the feelings and thoughts we hold on to, then it matters what we think or do. This world is created by us – not the governments or the corporations . . . it is by us. The tragedies and wars exist because of our own individual actions … or our lack of actions. Tidal waves are made up of single drops of water.
We have to choose love and healing. We have to let go of the past, let go of our need to win. We have to forgive ourselves and forgive others. We have to support one another in our individual efforts to heal – not seek to define what that should be for others, what it should look like, or how it is done. Everyone will have their own unique way. We need to make sure we are not supporting people in negative ways, enabling them to be cruel or unkind, by our applause or our silence. We need to especially focus our attention on our children, and teach them a different way of living that allows for good will amongst all of us.
It is not up to the “Saints” to rescue us. We are all saints. It is not about being perfect, it is about doing the right thing, ESPECIALLY in the face of failing to do the right thing. It is up to every one of us.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” Martin Luther King Jr.