To be good ancestors can take on different meanings. It can mean leaving behind financial assets so that our children have something to start with in life. It also means the values and norms we believe in.
To me, it has a deeper meaning ever since I went to take part in a workshop at St Ethelburgas. The workshop was about “What is our responsibility for peace?” It is to embrace forgiveness to end any pattern of resentment, violence that is within the family, community or nation. It was conducted by Alexandra Asseily who is from Beirut, a place where a lot of suffering has resulted from the years of civil war. In her search for contributing to peace, Mrs Asseily has created the Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut.
We all have been betrayed and hurt at one point in our lives. Remembering these times bring all sort of uncomfortable feelings and we sometimes ask: Why me? What have I done to deserve this? What makes them think that they have the right to do that to me? Well, these questions may never be answered the way we would like them to. We are raised to believe that all questions have answers that are logical, proven and make sense to us. In pushing for answers, we continue to dwell on these painful moments, pulling ourselves in a place that reminds us that life is unfair.
What good comes out of it? To me, there has never been anything positive. The weight of the burden keeps increasing whilst life goes on. I have since then embarked on a journey of forgiveness. Forgiveness is allowing myself to live again, to trust again and to enjoy life fully. The journey is twisted as life is dual. We value joy because we have known pain. Forgiveness is about not allowing others to make me feel unwanted and not good enough. It is a choice that life gives to us continuously and that we consciously have to make.
The choice to forgive is always a difficult choice. The main motivation, from my perspective, is to be proud of the legacy that I leave behind. My personal brand is about living life and not regretting it. My purpose is to leave a legacy that is meaningful to me and to the following generations. For this reason, I make the choice of forgiving, leaving my pride behind. This is the place where I personally feel empowered, creative and good about myself. It is all about my wellbeing!
The unfinished businesses that we keep on accumulating are passed on to the next generation through the attitudes we adopt towards those that hurt us and witnessed by our children. What kind of legacy that we give to our children if we show them that part of life is about resentment? Resentment passed on from generation to generation generates violence and anger. What kind of personal brand are we embracing? What norms and values would you like to be remembered for when future generations talk about you and your generation?
The major learning that I receive in participating in the workshop was whatever we do, do it consciously.
Coming from a country where peace has been the norm, I am aware that it is not my role to give lessons to those who have suffered from violence. From my perspective, no one is born to live a life of violence and resentment. Everyone has the right to love, happiness and peace. How we create them is our choice and responsibility.