I’ve been embracing my singleness, I am attending things solo and being aware of the benefits. Going solo forces you to strike up conversations with those around you. Attending with someone, and your conversation stays within your group. I’ve been hearing and seeing this quote:
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
At a domestic violence awareness/prevetnion event, I chatted with another person attending. When I told her what I did, (work with victims and offenders to bring them together to repair harm) she looked so shocked, she gave me a scoff, and asked, “THAT must be hard! Do you keep a wall between them?”. I was caught a little off guard at such a strong response. I offered that we prepare people ahead of time. She told me that would not work for her. She shared she was more of an “eye for . . . an eye and a half” type. I laughed at “eye for an eye and a half”. Then I told her I write a blog, and asked for her permission to use that. I thought it interesting where we met, and this perspective, I tried to figure out that context.
The event included a walk, I had two choices. Listen to the conversations around me, or spend some time just thinking. I did a bit of both. I thought about how open and honest it was say, I’d take another half of an eye. I thought about another recent conversation, where I was saying I would take a case despite the offender saying he didn’t do it. I know the power of Circle, I know the acknowledgements I get, when I remind people this is not a place where whatever you say will be held against you. I wanted a chance to sit down 1:1 with the offender. The person I was speaking with was talking to me, it appeared, only to be able to say “she said no”. I was not saying no. I thought about these two conversations.
I wondered, about the other end of the stick? If one end is “eye for an eye and a half” am I so far down the other end? Am I, “thank you for taking my eye, I learned I didn’t need it”. I think that is as absurd as thinking you get another half of an eye!
Context changes so much. My daughter was recently the victim of a crime. Her purse was picked up and the person ran away. My kid went after her, she stopped a car in the parking lot, asked the 3 individuals “did you steal my purse?” She asked to use a phone, she was going to call her number and see if rang in the car. The three in the car all made excuses and no call was made. They went on to use my daughters debit card, she lost her phone, her favorite wallet and purse. In our very first conversation about this my kid firmly said, “Mom, I WANT to do a Restorative Justice Circle!”. Later when she found out they lied to her face, and used her debit card, I asked again about Restorative Justice. She still said yes. She wants to offer help, so the offender doesn’t have to steal anymore, she thought in the form of a college application or job resume.
Now, I have to sit back and hope the system does what it does, that they follow-up and somewhere in the process of justice, my kid gets Restorative Justice. I’m concerned about how the formal justice system is going to respond. My daughter is ready to tell her story as a surrogate victim, I offered her what I could. It hurts me to see her hurt by this. I’ve given her some TLC to help. It’s already brought us closer, but I’m not ready to thank anybody for this lesson.
I don’t know, eye for an eye, eye for an eye and a half, or thank you for removing my eye. Life happens and each belief we have gets tested in different contexts.
Life happens at the end of your comfort zone.