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Life is a constant process of transformation

Glenn Fubler, chairman of Imagine Bermuda

Being human is difficult. Becoming human is a lifelong process. To be truly human is a gift.

This observation by Abraham Heschel, a Rabbi who had escaped Nazi Germany and subsequently became one of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s spiritual confidantes, speaks to the ongoing nature of human development — how we are all works in constant progress.

Heschel was one of the first religious leaders invited by Dr King to join him when preparing for the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, a pivotal campaign in the US civil rights movement, re- created in the new movie, Selma.

Heschel’s remark suggests that life is a constant process of transformation, one which allows us to better develop and access our gifts.

In certain countries, January 6 is an observance of the Wise Men concluding their journey to offer gifts to the Christ child.

In all countries, the start of a new year offers an opportunity for everyone to pause and access their wisdom in charting a course forward.

The Christmas messages from both the Premier and the Opposition leader seem to suggest they have reached a consensus when it comes to the particular wisdom of moving forward together.

Premier Dunkley called for us all “to work to bridge our differences for the sake of a more inclusive, unified island”. Opposition Leader Marc Bean pointed out that “now more than ever … [there is] the need for all of us to be drawing closer together”.

Mr Bean went on to encourage “a new spirit of unity [which will] extend beyond December into the months and years to come”.

These gifts from our leaders are refreshing in contrast to some published comments from our recent past. This is the point — that at any juncture of the journey, transformation is possible.

Dr King’s life was transformed suddenly at the age of 26, when Rosa Parks of Montgomery, Alabama, quietly took action showing that she was “truly human”. That gift helped to transform America.

All of us have stories of the process — the journey. I have a long-time friend named Joe, who recently told me the story of his son, who had become addicted to heroin. Joe was able to send his son off to a treatment programme in England and now the son is a counsellor in that same facility. From that valley of difficulty, Joe’s son now offers his peers his gift.

The wisdom offered in the Christmas messages of our leaders provides some guidelines for our way forward.

There is no doubt that if we work to draw closer together and forge a more inclusive island, with a new spirit, we can access the gifts that we all have to share with each other.

A change in line with their suggestions would indeed be a gift to every child born in our island.

Glenn Fubler is chairman of Imagine Bermuda