Never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep…”
John Milton, from “Paradise Lost”
Milton’s severe pronouncement, written at the end of the 17th century, would seem at first glance disheartening. But, upon reflection, I think that Milton, rather than seeing our inability to reconcile as fault of another person or an inevitable part of human nature, invites us all to look inward at our own “deadly hate” as the source of discord.
And this, in my opinion, is not disheartening. It’s inspiring, hopeful, but it’s also not easy. Just turn on the news or pull up Facebook, and you’ll be flooded with vitriolic language by news anchors, politicians and sometimes even friends and family. We are so angry and we are very righteous about our anger.
I am not advocating that we sweep our issues (some of which are dreadful!) under the rug, but perhaps we can learn to handle our anger differently. Maybe, even in our own minds, we can stop the ad homonym attacks and try to—at least—connect to the humanity even in those with whom I most disagree.
Yes, we’ve got a lot to deal with, but maybe we can start by dealing with ourselves. As the author and political activist Donna Brazile beautifully says, “It takes one person, one moment, one conviction, to start a ripple of change.” So, maybe one person at a time, we can begin ridding ourselves of deadly hate and maybe we’ll be one step closer to true reconcilement.