Listening and Reconciliation

By Angelica Jochim, MFT

Pastoral Outreach Coordinator, Francsican Province of St. Barbara

      As I move through life, I notice that my primary guide, my trusted familiar, my guardian angel, is this feeling that I have inside me. This "push" that tells me the direction I should head in, directing me like a compass. Although I may not always listen well, I mostly try to keep my ear attuned there. I trust that guide more than any external rule, more', or procedure.

     External guidance has its place, of course, but I feel that that something inside me is the primary thing, has to do with god, or my soul's journey, or however you want to say it. For this reason, I have great respect for action born of that kind of listening, that kind of trust. For me, this deep listening is a requisite of reconciliation work, because it is from that same still place of listening in myself that I am better able to listen well to others.

     As we know, peace and reconciliation work is not just about survivors and friars. It is a state of being, a lifestyle, an ongoing committment, a process, a decision to be made over and over again. For me,it extends to everyone who touches my life, including those I love, my neighbors and colleages, even George W.

     It's an aspiration to listen well enough to be able to understand and respond to the wound underlying the behavior--which, by the way, I fail at over and over again, but I keep trying. It may not always be my responsibility to tend to those wounds, but it is my job to respond wisely.

     I don't want to demonize, or for that matter, canonize, anyone. Rather, my choice is to follow the Middle Way of the Buddha, seeing that we all have saints and demons within us. If I can understand that, then maybe I will have the good grace to forgive myself, those that I love, and those that I dislike, our trespasses. Because in the end, our wounds are the same wound. We are all here, in the same boat, together.