I hear horns honking in the distance when I’m tucking tiny seeds into the earth at my community garden plot. On the way home, we encounter an endless line of trucks and busses that have come from nearby communities to show support for the indigenous community and the local former Indian Residential School where the bodies of 215 children were recently discovered. People on the side of the road wave and take photos.
“Thank you for seeing us,” they seem to say.
Back home, in my backyard, where I’m outside with the pups, I can still hear horns honking in the distance. The outpouring warms my heart. And breaks it.
Did we know about the atrocities committed against a people before the news broke about these unmarked graves? Did we consider the effects of generational trauma? Did we turn a blind eye?
It’s been a long time since I was in school, but my recollection is having been taught a whitewashed version of history. Is that an excuse? Are we better at truth telling now? Will my grandchildren’s generation see things different than I have for most of my life?
Check yourself, Linda.
I challenge my preconceived opinions and my judgemental perspective about these people—and all people. I don’t have the answers, but I’m pretty sure they start when I look in the mirror.
Assigning blame won’t change the past. Demanding apologies where none is forthcoming won’t take away trauma that’s passed from generation to generation. Throwing resources might help in the short term, but healing comes from a far deeper place than anything tangible can touch.
Alone, I can’t fix it. It’s far bigger than my influence, but I play a part. I have played a part.
Check yourself, Linda.
I haven’t always acted with compassion or sought to understand. I’ve looked through my own filter and forgotten that we live life through different lenses. I’ve considered generational trauma without realizing tha magnitude of racial generational trauma. I’ve talked far more than listened.
This immediate situation tugs at my heartstrings because it involves abused and forgotten children. It makes me think of horrific, unimaginable things. I have trouble believing there’s such evil in human hearts, though history tells me otherwise. Are there varying degrees of evil?
Check your heart.
I struggle with the two most important things: to love God and love people.
There, I’ve said it. I’m not all that good at either one.
All the indignation, blaming, and shaming I can muster won’t change that.
Look in the mirror, Linda. Check yourself.
The indigenous people, and all people, need light to shine on things that were—and are—not as they should be, and a collective listening is a good place to start. Slogans and protests and ceremony raise our common awareness and show respect, but I dare not stop there.
Mine is to figure out what it means to love God and all people—and do it. And when I fail—because I will fail—get back up, make amends, and do it again.
That is how I do my part in changing the world one kindness, one person at a time.