Via Basel: Resilience, Restoration…
Resilience, Restoration, Reconciliation
Reaching back to my own past when I was facing major life-shattering events, estrangement, divorce, and finally death of loved ones, going through these three phases–resilience, restoration, and reconciliation–was essential in my coming out healed and whole on the other side. Inner strength and patience were the backbone to my resilience. Without realism and accepting the presence of my shadow side I could not be restored. Only then and with abundant love and forgiveness of myself and others, was there peace and healing, requisites for reconciliation within myself and with others.
In the life of nations going through cataclysmic events such as ours at this time the same is needed. The trifecta of an exploding pandemic, economic downturn, and political division that even an election could not settle, along with longstanding simmering racial injustice, is a recipe for disaster and destruction at a scale not seen since the civil war 160 years ago. I have recently come to the conclusion that it’s practically impossible for any kind of unity to happen soon no matter how determined, talented, or compassionate a leader we get. Thus the most important quality needed for people of good will on either side early on is patience, to help lower tensions and prevent the situation from getting worse. Time will need to do its job slowly and gradually; it always does. Then as the dust settles and with some introspection we may realize just because we desire (even crave) an outcome, it will not happen. The truth may have to be revealed in brutal and stark ways. No amount of persuasion from the other side helps; maybe even silence is better. I say that knowing that some will critique it, because one side has come on top and it’s easy for that side to preach. I propose to look at the results carefully, not just the top but all down the ticket. Both sides have won and lost, which should make a compromise easier. But we are in volatile and incendiary times, and all bets are off.
Only later can reconciliation begin, since it not only requires good intention but compassion and forgiveness and, yes, even love of your ex-enemy, which sounds ridiculous at this time. A reminder to both sides of the quote “love your enemies” which needs no author mentioned since they all know Him and claim to follow Him. But knowing in your head and feeling in your heart are not the same. I had mentioned discussions and conversations in a previous post as a necessary step toward healing and on a limited scale they can be encouraged, but for the majority who are stuck in the mud (on both sides) at this time, it is not the time.
The failure of these coping mechanisms can be tragic on an individual scale and to those close by, but on a societal and national level are nothing short of catastrophic. I may be naïve but I’m betting we will survive and even thrive.
Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Christopher Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, writing, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family, and now, semi-retired, he is exploring new avenues in medicine, education, and social engagement.