Foregiving Past Failures

Evidence of failure is all around and also within. But when we settle on someone to blame—either ourselves or someone else—we are soon stuck in a tiny space from which we cannot escape.

When we blame ourselves, we lose the self-respect that could give us the courage to make things better. And when we blame others or a global situation for our frustration and fear, we undercut the understanding that could begin to heal the unbalances that are burning up the West coast, drowning the East coast, and dividing communities from sea to sea.

There is no denying that our civilization is failing at a deep level. Worse: our society lacks the will to change in ways that would be necessary if we are to set a new course and restore harmonious relations between ourselves, one another, and our world.

It’s a terribly fragile time in which most of us stand silent witness to the end of civility, dialogue, and the willingness to collaborate in meaningful ways. While some are losing everything to fires, floods, preventable illness, and to murderous hatred, the rest of us know not what we do.

When those in power are divorced from conditions that others must bear, and uncaring of lives not connected to their own, their actions cannot but sabotage our living future.

The size of Canada’s last fully intact ice shelf was reduced by 43% over July 30 and 31 when the Milne Ice Shelf on Ellesmere Island in the northern territory of Nunavut collapsed into the ocean.

This large sheet of ice then drifted into the Arctic Sea, further breaking into two large chunks. This entire calving event — the scientific term for the breaking of ice chunks off glaciers — was captured by the Copernicus Sentinel satellite.

Humpty Dumpty has fallen off his ancient wall of ice and now pieces of his shell are floating away, along with the future of many on the two coasts of America. He cannot be put back together again; and we are all complicit. No matter if we accept climate change, believe in science, or deplore the separating of parents and children at the southern border (that other shore line against which waves of displaced humanity are crashing); as long as we clutch our stones of blame, determined to cast ours first, we will sink with them, weighted down in the rising seas, as ancient storehouses of water fuel the floods.

When nature is in balance, water evaporates and returns to the ocean; breath comes and goes for a lifetime; and life returns each summer, departs in winter, to return each spring.

But finding someone to blame for the failures of our society, turning our backs on the gifts of nature—within and without—Winter will not notice Spring knocking on his door.

To avoid the collapse that is looming on the horizon we need to forgive the past, respect ourselves and others in the present, and embrace the courage to face a future that has already taken a wrong turn. We need to breathe in all those failures, breathe out caring for all the suffering beings—those near and far, those with whom we agree and those with whom we don’t. We are all sheep far from home, lost in the darkness, wondering if there will be a tomorrow for us or for the children of all those faces bobbing and spinning in the crowd, many not noticing or not knowing what to do about the cliff face toward which we are racing.

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