Let this weekend be generous and loving
I am a Bermudian. I have always been proud of my island home but especially of who we are as a people.
I am about to join all Bermudians in an event that will peel back layers of learnt and innate behaviours, notions, practices and beliefs to suddenly expose vulnerabilities, strengths, fears, concerns and most certainly, current positions and personal truths. The Bermuda Pride Parade is being held this weekend.
I use the word “join” in the sense that this moment is happening to us all, no matter if we apathetically deny the importance of its occurrence, or if we are in the camps that condone and support, or the camps that denounce and condemn.
What I hope, most sincerely, is that at the core of who we are as individuals and as a collective community is the ability to be respectful enough to consider the alternative view points and allow space and time for peaceful demonstration. I hope we can value each other and our community enough to lay aside pain and fear and ego and choose courage and calm confidence within our ardent assertions.
Can we prove to be a people more prone to listening than judging? Are we a people who would choose to practise empathy over agenda?
Can we be confident in our ability to practise communicating clearly and effectively in order to best hear differing view points and experiences? Are we a people who care more about our neighbour than we do for ourselves?
Do we have the strengths and capacities necessary to enable us to reflect back what we believe we have understood of others' intents with sincerity, dignity, and grace? Are we brave enough to try?
I believe we are.
Can we allow each other to choose our own paths and have faith those paths have much more in common than not?
Are we a people who believe in practising emotional intelligence along with honing intellect?
We each have a story to tell and no story is the same, and like it or not, our personal narratives and lives make up who we are as a collective entity sharing this unique, little island environment.
Our individual stories are as varied as there are grains of sand on the beach. They each are filled with more facets than there are stars above our heads.
As we are all aware, life is not usually easy and glorious and often it is downright difficult. Our experiences can be fraught with adversity and challenge and pain. They can be filled with light and affirmation and joy as well.
We are creatures made up of our innate attributes and fallibilities as well as our learnt responses to our environments. When faced with adversity we sometimes rise and move forward, and sometimes we fall and flail. We are never complete.
Our facets reflect all of who we have become and we are fantastic works in progress. Some of our facets are brilliant and viable and some are cracked and dull. Not all are appreciated but all are a valid testament to our complicated existence.
Some aspects of ourselves we are ready to share and some we are not. Some just show no matter our intent. We not only require privacy, but also the grace of support from others. More and more of these facets are carved or etched or burnt to make up who we are with every moment in our experience — even faster than we can possibly understand and control all at once. It can be quite confusing and daunting but we are most certainly not alone. How do we behave towards each other as we make our way within our collective consciousness?
How do we share our experiences? How do we communicate? Do we use negative or positive action? How do we make room for each other?
I hope we are a people made up of the kind of love that avidly chooses to think critically. I hope we advocate for individual freedom of choice and thought. I hope we are made of a substance that is capable of constant evolution even as it is in our nature to stand firm by what we know to be true of our mortar and foundations.
How can we exist peacefully and certainly with such a contradiction of ideas?
I hope it is through kindness and consideration and optimism and hope, with our egos not part of the equation. Let us be more humble than we are arrogant in this quest.
I hope we are a community of questioners and eager learners who can consider possibilities and experiences outside of our own, and through varying — even if strange or opaque — lenses. I hope we are more curious than certain.
Let's be courageous and inclusive within the inevitable challenge and confusion. Let's support each other without first having to have assurances. Let us operate from a faith in one another that believes we each have each other's best interests at heart. Let's have the integrity to make that a promise to one another.
Let's be the people who have the capacity to wonder and to understand that the more we learn the more we realise what we can not know everything in one lifetime. Let us at least understand and agree that we are neither privy to the minute details of our individual experiences nor the whole picture of life — the past, the present or the future — with all the vast dimensions of each and that that is all right.
I hope we have the courage to believe we are worthy of love so that we can then treat others as we would hope to be treated ourselves as we make this journey. I hope we all can forgive each other our transgressions along the way.
I hope we are able to entertain the notion that massive ambiguity and uncertainty is part of a life well lived, and that it is intrinsically part of our extraordinary beauty.
I hope we rise shoulder to shoulder — together — everyone pledged to a continuing practice of empathy, and clear communication with everyone feeling they are being equally heard, equally acknowledged, equally valued and equally loved even within the tenuous footing and fragile realisation that we will never understand all.
I hope we have patience with each and that this weekend is at once a continuation of all the good in us we have shown and shared so far, an awareness of the awfulness, intolerance and hatefulness we have displayed towards each other, with a sincere attempt at assuagement and forgiveness.
Let's make this weekend a deliberate effort at being more generous and loving than we ever have managed before. Let's pledge to try in all our aching weakness and naïvete. Let this be the rally cry.
CHERIE AMOS SIKKING