• Dorothy Vaandering

At this time... (5) We can see clearly now that we can't see clearly

Updated: May 27

"At This Time..." - A Blog Series (Pt 5)

I wake up sad, these days. I anticipated that announcements about gradual reopening’s and options to ‘double bubble’ across NL, Canada, and the world, would lift my spirits. Instead I hear myself saying, “We are in deep now,” and I fight back tears. There was a novelty in social isolation for a time, and after years of over-working and feeling burned out, I feel more rested than I have in a long time. But re-opening and re-turning only feel monumental right now. The prefix “re” (again)is a façade. All the things I love will not be the same again. Options being explored for education, for social services, for courts, for shopping, options that all seem to require a computer screen, all feel void of relationship--like watching the fireplace channel on cable TV. As we gradually step out of physical isolation, the only thing we can see clearly is that we can’t see clearly.

And so, with all this in mind, I turn to the final question in the restorative justice framework …



Just slightly different than the previous question, this one moves me to action. So, in the “I’m Struggling” scenario my need for a break, a hug, a letting go of something that causes conflict with my son and I, guides my decision for what I do. “I need to share this with my partner and ask for a hug.” OR “I need to take a walk to the corner right now.” OR “In the morning, I will tell my son what I am thinking and feeling and ask him what he is thinking or feeling.” In the “Yay, I Did It!” scenario, “I need to schedule in my calendar, a 15 min walking break after every zoom meeting.”

Once I make my decision, I am only done, (a) when I double check that my action will honour who I am and uphold the dignity of those impacted; (b)when I actually DO what I decide.

Without a doubt, these are very simplistic examples. However, if I am going to identify for myself how I think about humanity, I need to learn to think critically about daily situations that are closest to me. I need to be able to recognize what I am thinking and how I make decisions when I don’t see clearly, so that when I face more complex situations, I am confident that I will function with integrity, aligning my actions with my belief that all people are worthy and interconnected.

Critical to this, is that this very same responsibility lies with every organization and institution that make up our society, and of which I am a part. As democratic citizens, we participated in shaping what existed pre-pandemic; now as things open up, as we all see clearly that none of us is seeing clearly, we need to act and plan with integrity, with a renewed commitment to the thriving of all humanity and the environment that sustains us.

The invitation: Use all 5 questions to shape a conversation with yourself about one situation daily with which you are grappling. Think of it as going to the gym, working out in preparation for that marathon you are planning to run!

[For a printable RF-RJNL poster click here and scroll down to "Printables-Let's have a C.H.A.T."]

Next blog: What’s the point?



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