RE-Juicing the Common Ground with Rowan Duczek
10) Perspective – For the benefit of the whole Community I may need to put aside my personal issues. I acknowledge that there may be wider perspectives than my own and deeper issues than those I am immediately aware of.
I am living in Forres and have done so happily for the past 13 years. Re-joining the NFA Council some 18 month ago, I have become involved again with the community while at the same time having the privilege of ‘another life’ somewhere else. There are community issues that have engaged much energy, time, passion and heartache; issues that ‘from a distance’ seem somewhat odd, because of the emotional intensity involved. I think of the ‘saga’ around ‘the Fences’ or, of late, around the Guinea Fowls.
With the benefit of ‘distance’ I have often wondered what these issues really are about. People die in their thousands in the Mediterranean, atrocities happen in Syria and elsewhere, there is the Calais Jungle, and the world-renowned spiritual community had its focus on Fences and Fowls…
But then, ‘God works in mysterious ways’, and perhaps it is precisely through these – that seem to someone not involved – ‘small issues’ that we are truly tested? Can we stretch our hearts wide enough, listen compassionately and grieve deeply if the eventual decisions do not go our way? Do we have the courage to move through conflict without making the other party ‘the enemy’? Can I look at my personal sense of feeling ‘victimized’ and make the inner commitment to move beyond it? These are the tough questions underneath. And it does not matter what the issues are, fences, birds or even the proposed Welcome Centre, the content is interchangeable.
I, myself, had an issue of late, where I felt really ‘miffed’ and the very questions I pose above came ‘home to roost’. And someone not involved might well have thought my ‘issue’ pretty trivial. So, ‘be careful what you write, it might come back to present itself to you…’.
Years ago I was involved in the Women’s Peace Movement until it dawned on me that we were, in fact, the ‘Women’s Rage Movement’. And this – I’m afraid – will no longer do! The ‘friend – enemy dichotomy’ will forever leave us stuck. Lesley Quilty in her TEDx talk in the Universal Hall spoke about her life which, by all accounts, was in part painful and traumatic. Yet, she invited the audience to say ‘yes’. Yes, to all of it, the pain, the abuse, the trauma. Perhaps it is exactly this YES to LIFE AS IT IS, and not as we want it to be, that gives us the strength to carry on.