I was reminded yesterday of a this quote…
The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him
It was offered in the context of the recent Paris attacks, but it reminded me of the truth in this for us all, not just for the soldier, the man on the battlefield, the terrorist. We all have a bond, a love of what shaped us, what gives us belonging, those ‘like us’ who give us a place. We feel strong ties to our formative experiences; strong connections to our family of birth; a place where we learned the unspoken rules of belonging. Where we experienced love. We all have strong attachment to familiarity, to the system we operate in, to its customs and culture and to the way of working we have become aligned to. It too gives us a sense of place, a sense of belonging.
Perhaps this in part explains why change can be hard? We have to let go of connections, friends, customs, behaviours, ways of being which have given us a security.
Maybe we don’t hate the change we face, but rather we resist it from a place of love for what has gone before? What is, or will be, behind us?
There are times in our lives when the world around us seems to be a given, outside of our influence but a structure we can rely upon. It is physical, emotional, social, psychological, spiritual. It seems an uncontrollable force. An influence we are subservient to, because it is bigger, stronger than our fragile unique humanity. It is a rock on which we are built. A grounding platform on which we stand and from which we can step forward, grow. It gives us context. It is the picture that gives us, as individual brush strokes, meaning. It is a defining play in which we are but puppets, actors. It gives us assurance, confidence. We come to trust it. It keeps us safe.
Recent events in Paris are a sobering reminder of how the structures we rely on, almost take for granted, can be questioned, break down even. Then what happens? We feel vulnerable. We seek to strengthen other foundations in our world, such as our way of life, our freedoms. To compensate. To replace one piece of ground with another, so that we might not fall.
This quote might remind us of something else though…
A bird sitting in a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not in the branch but is in her own wings. Always believe in yourself.
It might remind us to trust ourselves and to believe in ourselves.
Humanity is greater than the actions on one or more ‘human beings’.
Humanity is greater than the world around us; the world created, shaped, destroyed by human beings.
Humanity is within.