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Bring humanity back

Violence to others and self-destruction by bomb, rifle, injection, pill or drink is all around. It is fast and slow and it is with us. If one believes the news, all too many people are in a world of isolation and pain. Images of PTSD, depression, fear, hate and self loathing are fed to us all day and night in never ending `24 hour - 60 second` news cycles. We should never come to the point where we begin to accept these things as normal. We cannot watch our humanity slip away, we need to take action and restore it.

Everything we have ever seen, touched, tasted, smelled, heard, said, done and experienced is part of us now. It is said that responding to our experience is how we build our sense of self, our character, our relationships and the tools we need to make choices and respond to circumstances. It is how we chart and navigate our life`s journey.

Look back. Consider life`s moments. Maybe, a new way to look at our surroundings, a new appreciation of the talents, skills and the beauty of the people around us, the heavy feeling of circumstances that overwhelm, envelop and embed us, or the experience of those `a-ha` moments of absolute clarity that come out of midair to remind us that everything is in its exact proper place, and that ?in the end- all is well; the list is endless and ever-changing.

These clusters of lessons and experiences we gather along our life's pathway make us what we are at every moment. Like eating from the Tree of Life, once the scales fall from our eyes, we see, and it becomes part of us. Its undeniable and there are no `do-overs` or `take backs`. We can't stuff the Genie back into the bottle.

So, why does it matter and what should we do?

It matters because when we see violence, evil and ugliness around us, it becomes part of us and we must respond. How then do we respond to those around us who we see have had these extreme experiences.

How do we come into relationship, conversation and communion with those returning from terror and violence in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, a New York office tower, Paris on a summer's night or in a club on the beaches of the Mexican Riviera? Must we wait for more PTSD-inspired murder suicides like the Nova Scotia Veteran, killing himself and his beautiful family? Or should we just change the channel?

For us in First Nation's Canada, there too is a long and lingering type of PTSD related violence rooted in residential school. How do we respond to those who have had their self-concept and self confidence crumbled, their cultural identity forbidden or who have had their minds or bodies abused or violated? Must we wait for higher suicide rates (already the highest rate in Canada) or more broken families, homelessness and the wandering lost? How long do we wonder what to do as we see people in a kind of slow motion self- destruct, committing suicide-by installment with alcohol or drugs? Or should we close the book on Truth and Reconciliation?

We must bring humanity back. We must recognize that people in pain are still part of our community, Province and Nation. They are still numbered amongst our families, friends and neighbours. A person in pain is still a person and when we see it, we must respond.

So, what does response look like? It can take place in our ever day lives in our every day circles. Look up the parable of the Good Samaritan. Walking down the road, he saw a person in terrible distress. He was moved, reached out, took action and made a personal commitment to bring healing.

For our world and for my community, we need to bring humanity like this back. To personally reach out when we recognize pain in the circles of our day-to-day lives, connect with those that suffer and offer the embrace of community, belonging and a path to healing.

As we see the world unfold, let us recognize the needs around us in our own lives and respond with humanity and care for we are all a part of the human family; and let us remember that but for the Grace of God there go I.

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