America is a country built on reinvention. From the moment the first settlers arrived on its shores (illegally immigrating, of course…story for another post), the desire was to start anew.
A fresh start is something so many of us want – or in some cases – need.
Seeking to Forget Makes Exile All the Longer.
…..Richard von Weizsaecker
A few months ago I struggled with this space. I kept asking myself if I had a theme. I tried a few things, including testing out my most used words. What came up? Love, of course. And ‘The One’ and forgiveness and Paris.
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
With that little bit of information I decided to think about my own life and what I’ve wanted to understand about it and the takeaway has been that what I have loved most about the life I’ve lived so far is that it has been filled with change. I’ve moved and switched jobs and married and divorced and through it all I’ve done it without realizing that each of those changes was a way of finding reinvention. And sometimes, it was about finding more than that: It was about seeking redemption.
The more I thought about the recurring themes in my posts, the easier it was to understand why I am so tied up with the idea of redemption. There are so many ways for us to change the course of our lives and too often, we don’t see how one decision today might affect us years from now.
And, the more I looked at the writers I love to read the most, the more I had to admit that I’ve been searching for reinvention and redemption my whole life. I don’t know if it’s always been that I felt I needed personal redemption. It’s often felt like I need to know people can be good – even if they aren’t. Otherwise, what’s the point of creating relationships?
This past week has been about change in the extreme. I’m working three full-time jobs right now. I’m leaving one place, going to another and in between I’m still consulting. Adding to that, I’ve been nursing a shoulder injury and it’s felt like my body is breaking down right when I need it to be the healthiest.
I took most of last week to curl up with the Democratic National Convention. It will come as no surprise to anyone that I am a proud liberal and that I’ll be voting Obama/Biden again this year. What struck me the most about the DNC was that they too had a theme of reinvention. Tammy Duckworth, Gabriel Gifford’s, Bill Clinton…Just a few of the people on stage at the convention who have changed their lives in one way or another. A poster child for reinvention and redemption, Bill Clinton exemplifies what’s both great and interesting about this county – namely, if you say you are sorry and then work to change a perceived (or actual) flaw, people want to forgive. We want to believe in second chances and we want to embrace a person’s renewed sense of self. It’s almost like we cling to the hope that people can be different – or repent.
I started this post last night but it seems more fitting that I’m finishing it today. Eleven years ago marks a major point of change for this country. In no way do I believe my experience on 9/11 outweigh anyone else’s. However I do know that, collectively, we all became neighbors in a way we weren’t just a day before. And for the past 11 years we’ve tried to right certain wrongs. Along the way we’ve made mistakes and gotten some things right. In many ways, we’ve reinvented ourselves as a country.
Where will we go next as a whole? More to the point, where do we, as individuals go now?
It is his capacity for self-improvement and self-redemption which most distinguishes man from the mere brute.
…..Aung San Suu Kyi
Do we work to be a more forgiving, understanding part of history’s people? I hope so.
I’ve made many mistakes and I’m sure I have many more to make – each day I wake up and think I can get things right. Without that, I’m not sure I’d enjoy getting up much.
Maybe what I have to remember is to remind the people I love that each morning that I wake up thinking that, that I also hope they are getting things right, too. In whatever way ‘right’ feels best for them.