Being Christmas, this is the season of lies; so it’s a good time to talk about healing and reconciliation.
Canadians, especially, seem obsessed with those two words these days, and prattle on about them with the kind of hopeless desperation displayed by parents who keep insisting to their maturing children that there really is a Santa Claus.
Burying the hatchet is always a good thing for those with the bigger hatchet, much as the law is good for the man with property, and terrible for the one without it. But to speak of “reconciliation” as some kind of equally rewarding prospect for all concerned is just so much horse piss.
Take Indians, for example. As a group, they’re clearly holding the smaller tomahawk and will take anything they’re handed: at least, most of the ones I know. They don’t have much choice, after all. But their being reconciled to this big fish-little fish realpolitik called Canada is not the same thing as being happy with the arrangement, as much as they’re expected to do minstrel shows for the Big Massa.
All of us white folks, contrarily, are generally pleased as punch with all this healing and reconciliation talk of hatchet-burying with Indians, since we’re holding the bigger one.
Besides, all of this forced euphoria is just like talking about Santa Claus: a pleasant fairy tale designed to help us digest our turkey dinner and all the goodies that come with it. In truth, reconciliation between historical enemies like White Canada and what’s left of indigenous nations is about as common as a Christmas Eve manifestation of ol’ Saint Nick. How precisely does a lion get along with a lamb, anyway?
I doubt if I’d ever feel reconciled with the people who gang raped me or fed my little sister into a furnace one night along with her newborn baby. Nor would I expect the monsters who did this, or those who protect them, to “reconcile” with me or my slaughtered sibling, even if such a thing was possible, or desirable. What I would want would be to see the bastards go to jail, or a worse place.
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not like I haven’t tried making up with my torturers, down the years, or offered a hand to those who I’ve wronged. But it’s always rung hollow. Both sides know it’s just for show, never alleviates the wrong or the pain, and is thereby a mere side-stop before the resumption of hostilities.
Richard Sawchuck was a demented eleven year old nearly twice my size who loved to chuck rocks at my head in the school yard for no particular reason, or spit gob all over the back of my head on the school bus each morning. The other kids would watch my ordeal and do nothing, or turn away with the kind of sick, vacant look of your standard not-so-innocent bystander. But after a week of Richard’s assaults I finally picked up a fallen tree branch one morning and smashed him over the head with it, which stopped him cold.
Nevertheless, my counter-attack caused both of us to be hauled in front of our Principal at Frontenac Elementary. The scowling custodian demanded that we shake hands and make up.
Richard grabbed my hand and squeezed it as hard as he could, and even while he mouthed an apology to me, his eyes blazed with the fire of vengeance. I said nothing to him, knowing that I would never trust him; but I shook his hand because I was expected to. And sure enough, Richard Sawchuck caught me the next day in an alley near my home, and I lost a tooth and some blood for it.
Richard and I have both moved on from that particular battlefield, of course, but only because of time and circumstance. Many other adversaries have taken his place. And with all the forgiveness and understanding in the world on my part, the blows have never slowed.
You can blame me, I suppose, for the conflict, which is the fool’s or the coward’s explanation. But all of that warfare with strangers aside, it’s the struggles closer to home that are in truth even more impossible for us to mend, for the simple reason that we are beings of love.
Our human heart, after all, is so infinitely gentle that one good whack at it will drive it into hiding for years, and sometimes for an entire lifetime. Like the Mohawk legend of Thunder Boy who is gifted to earth people until the moment that he encounters an angry word or a hand raised against him, and then must return to the heavens, our actual radiance endures in this world for about as long as the morning dew. And then, beaten or banished by stupidity, it flies away somewhere, never to find recovery.
Being an incurable romantic, which I suspect is another form of early onset dementia, I nevertheless still seek out the exiled radiance in every soul I meet, and I do see its traces in many of us, like the ghostly tail of sub-atomic particles.
An echo of our Eden-self resounds in some form in all men and women, fueling our best moments, and allowing us to somehow persevere in hell. But such a wispy spirit is woefully unable to construct the kind of active recovering and reclaiming that Official Lies call healing and reconciliation: words that are really just a politician’s ploy and a lawyer’s invention, not a living force to remake our rapidly decomposing world.
Coming apart as we are as a culture, it is preferable in these last days to leave all the blabber of reconciliation to the slogan-mongers and accept ourselves for who and what we are, as all dying people must. The heart outwears its sheath, and even love must rest, said Byron. This is not a time for more lies.
Whoever he was, the Just Soul called Yeshua had no need to overcome his murder and return in glory from the grave to his sad followers, in order to be One of God. For his life and sacrifice alone were enough to reconcile our hopes with the light he reflected from each one of us.
It is enough to be sifted and measured every day, in the heat of unreconciled warfare, and find in it all a reason to go on. If I am not healed, it is because I never was meant to be, but rather continue on that long journey not to recovery, but to transformation.
So grow up, Canada. Learn to face your end, and all that you have done to cause it. There are no cheap answers or apologies. There is just a final accounting, and the long arm of retribution and justice that reaches, yes, even you, for the purposes of heaven and earth and all of their people.
HURT ME WITH THE TRUTH
BUT NEVER KILL ME WITH A LIE