THINKING ABOUT WHAT MATTERS
The French proverb “Tout comprendre rend très-indulgent”, commonly translated as “To know all is to forgive all” is most often attributed to Mme de Staël. I first read it as a quote by the Catholic Saint Thomas Aquinas who lived many centuries before de Staël. I have also seen it attributed to Evelyn Waugh. I suspect variations can be found in many obscure ancient texts.
Why am I talking about this? Because trying to know or understand has made it possible for me to hope for peace. Nevertheless, many who have quoted this as a truth have been called to task. Why? for many some acts are unforgivable. I quite agree.
My way out of these colliding truths is to forgive the person but not the act. Not easy. Bishop Tutu lead me to that path with his definition of forgiveness.
Tutu said, “Forgiving is not forgetting; it is actually remembering–remembering and not using your right to hit back. Its a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened.”
I write this to explain that I am expanding my usual Shabbat Shalom posts. Time permitting, I hope to provide links to facilitate understanding of “the other.” By “the other” I mean not just other religions including atheism, but also to philosophy, and psychology.
Jews were charged with the task of Tikkun olam meaning our mission is to repair or heal the universe – a mission that resonated strongly with what my atheistic father and agnostic mother taught me about what matters.
One of my Twelve Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises says to Remember The Mission. Several other of my exercises tell you to act on The Mission. The Mission is to bring peace and justice for all to this world.
As a student of history, I can easily fall into despair. The Mission for bringing peace to this world has been a failed task across the ages. I work against despair by doing what I can to act on The Mission. That is all any one of us can do and it remains my biggest hope. That hope? If each of us does what what we can, when we can and how we can peace will spread.
As Margaret Mead noted “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
My Shabbat Shalom posts will be one of my ways of acting on The Mission. I know it will strengthen me and I hope the posts will help you think about what matters and commit to acting on The Mission.
For now, remember to use the coming weekend for family and friend time, me-time, quiet time, nature time, and thinking about what matters time. Part of creating peace in this world, is creating peace in your inner world.
For all you do to support my efforts, thank you.
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