You – Yes, you – go to your room

2020 is in its final throes. Don’t check the calendar just yet, it’s still November. Sorry.

I’ve never seen a year that brought out more hatred and vitriol than this year. Elections both here and on the other side of the Peace Arch have torn families apart. Walking a balance between the perception of personal freedom and basic human decency during a worldwide pandemic has led to fights,rioting, bloodshed, murder – mass hysteria. Even the suggestion of maybe don’t use a racially-charged, lynched manniquin as a Halloween decoration this year has dissolved into schoolyard namecalling, not that any of us expected anything different.

People are mentally sick and physically, emotionally and spiritually tired, which makes it worse. But we are – and should be – better than this.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t disagree. That’s just human nature. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight injustice and to protect our most vulnerable – because we absolutely should, to the last breath. It means we should fight clean, righteously, with passion and open minds and without malice. It can be done. It just isn’t.

We’re not at our best, myself included. I’ve done and said things I wish I could take back as a result of everything that’s happened to us this year. A wise man once said it’s when we experience the most pain that we draw inward and become the most selfish versions of ourselves. We’ve all had a lot of pain this year, and we’ve made it known to everyone around us.

That’s not an excuse for the way we’ve acted. None of us are innocent, and we all have something to atone for. It might be that passive-aggressive gesture to the woman next to you to pull the mask over her nose – right message, wrong execution. It might be getting into it with the greeter at Wal-Mart about their mask policy.

It might not even be related directly to any 2020 issues but it might have boiled to the surface as an indirect result.

Make no mistake, I’m surely not holier than thou; I’m just as guilty as anyone, and I’m sorry.

But where do we start? Sometimes to find the most mature solutions, we have to go back to the way we used to resolve things, parent to child. I propose this: go to your room and think about what you did.

Take a few minutes and take stock of the actions that have led up to your recent breaking points where you decided others must suffer as you have. Write them down if it helps.

If you feel bad for any of it – and I suspect we all do, sometimes – seek forgiveness. This does entail bringing up sins past and may open old wounds. It will cause you and the other person pain to bring the conflict back to light. It’s only pushing past that pain and learning to forgive, let go and – perhaps most importantly – set up new boundaries that we can begin to heal.

If someone approaches you with a sincere apology and a desire to change for the better, be ready to let go. Releasing that pain doesn’t mean it’s forgotten or that it will heal quickly or even completely. What it means is it won’t be brought up again and you can both start to work on a new, better version of yourselves.

Even as we are a considerable time away from outlasting the pandemic, the healing can begin now.

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