On my way back to Detroit today, I was listening to Weekend Edition on NPR, and heard a segment called “This I Believe.” From their website:
This I Believe is an international project engaging people in writing, sharing, and discussing the core values that guide their daily lives. These short statements of belief, written by people from all walks of life, are archived here and featured on public radio in the United States and Canada, as well as in regular broadcasts on NPR. The project is based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow.
What a great project! The essay I heard today was called “We All Need Mending,” by Susan Cooke Kittredge. Here are a couple of excerpts. (Use the player below to hear the entire essay as a podcast.)
Mending something is different from fixing it. Fixing it suggests that evidence of the problem will disappear. I see mending as a preservation of history and a proclamation of hope. When we mend broken relationships, we realize that we’re better together than apart, and perhaps even stronger for the rip and the repair.
Mending doesn’t say, “This never happened.” It says instead, as I believe the Christian cross does, “Something or someone was surely broken here, but with God’s grace it will rise to new life.” So too my old pajamas, the fence around the garden, the friendship torn by misunderstanding, a country being ripped apart by economic and social inequity and a global divide of enormous proportions — they all need mending.
I’m starting with the pajamas.
This reflection touched my heart deeply. It speaks of the human condition; we are all broken in some way and in need of God’s grace to restore us.
I had an opportunity this weekend to do some “mending.” It wasn’t a major thing, but marked for me a renewed intention to pay attention to how I am present to the people and events in my life. At our meeting, we were doing some sharing in groups of about six sisters, and it seems that in sharing my experience of us as a community, something powerful was evoked in one of the sisters at my table, and her response seemed to indicate that she was making some assumptions about what I said that I don’t think were entirely accurate, so I simply stated that, whereupon she immediately apologized.
In the past I think I would have simply accepted the apology and then let go of the incident, but it felt somewhat unfinished to me. So I followed up with her to let her know I am available if she wants to talk more about what I shared and/or her reaction to it. I think that many times in our interactions with each other (yes, we nuns are human, too!) we can push each others’ buttons without intending any harm, and I’m learning not to beat myself up about it – I think it’s a perfectly normal thing to happen among the graced sinners that we are. What I’m trying to challenge myself on is how to proceed when I have these little collisions with another. Instead of blowing it off, or if I’m the one hurt, to withdraw or shut down, I want to stay engaged with the other. Seems a little more promising strategy for achieving true communion than just bouncing off each other’s boundaries.
Back to the “This I Believe” subject: If you were to submit an essay to this project, what would YOU write about?