A bitter heart is fertile ground for the dream of revenge. It can extend beyond heart and mind, into body, into world. Enact the vengeance, and the recipient may agree, yes, this is justice.
Or she may not.
Her family may agree, or they may not. Her friends may agree, or not.
The wronged heart, too, grows bitter then. Poison cultivates a new dream of revenge. Imagination and courage dance, a perverse action.
Pain inflicted on another.
Newly wounded burn with anger, rot with pain, and poison the ground for a dream.
And so it is, the potential in actions born of bitterness.
With life comes pain. But in pain, do you seek restoration or destruction?
But what of a family, community, or nation? What is in the heart of those who act on behalf others? Does the seed inspire healing and wholeness? Or hurt?
How do you cultivate your heart? What fruits will it bear?
I’m at a conference, so I’m on and off the grid this weekend. While traveling, I had a short, but productive bout of writing-as-thinking. I decided not to push myself to finish either of the two pieces I started, but they are definitely seeds, firmly planted.
One of the pieces was a follow-up to my post on a caring community. Even now, I’m still thinking about it. It all goes back to love, methinks. I sometimes wonder why love is such a revolutionary act. But why wouldn’t it be? We are submerged in a world of violence. We see violent images on our televisions. We use violent language with people we love. Sing songs with violent lyrics. Think violent thoughts. Send violent energy with looks and gestures.
And then we are surprised when violence appears in more tangible forms. We demonize the perpetrators for choosing violence. For succumbing to violence. For mirroring it.
My statement is not meant to absolve aggressors of their responsibility. I simply would like us, as a community, to acknowledge our complicity.
I believe much begins with a theory and practice of love. I wonder if we can ponder such a thing, rather than dismiss it out of hand. After all, where have hardened hearts and an appetite for revenge gotten us?
That brings us again to the caring community. How to we go about creating it? Or how do we enlarge the caring spaces that exist? Mikhail posed a question this afternoon:
Do abolitionists have an alternative vision for how to respond to harmful behavior? That’s what restorative justice does.
As a newbie, I cannot speak for the community of abolitionists. I’m still investigating at this point. But the idea of restorative justice holds promise:
I will continue to share as I continue to learn.