Wednesday, 10 October 2012

"Who had let him down?" - Reconciliation After Violent Attack

As human beings, we need reconciliation. We make mistakes, we fall out with people and upset even those we love.

Having had the privilege of hearing the Mizen family bravely speaking about their experiences and journey towards reconciliation (see blog post <here>), I always look out for their campaign Release The Peace (see <here>).

However I was struck with the power of an article that appeared in the Guardian last week, 32 Tim Smits was very nearly killed last September by a young man on a bus.

I'll leave you to read his story here:

The most powerful part for me was when he said: "I tried to get my head around the actions of the young man too. How could he get to such a point where he felt able to attack another human being? Who had let him down? I spent hours imagining his childhood, trying to understand why he could do that."

However he then goes on to say, after the young man was caught: "Although I'm glad that justice was done, it wasn't a time for celebration. I feel incredibly sad that this young man's life has been thrown away. I wish him no harm."

He also goes on to explain the positives that have come from that near fateful day: "After six months of thinking about nothing but the attack, I decided that something positive must come out of this, otherwise I would just fall into a black hole. I wanted to use my creativity to turn things around for people like that, so have organised Cut-It-Out, a creative, community-based project to support disadvantaged young adults.

It underlines the importance of reconciliation within society and how anger and hate, just breed more anger and more hate. Tim Smits has had a horrific experience but he has tried to find something good and something positive.

Can we try to begin reconciliation with ourselves? With others? With our society? The Catholic Church has the Sacrament of Reconciliation to aid with this process. Is it a useful function? Do we need help to seek out reconciliation?

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