I’m sorry.” “Are you sorry for what you’ve done, or are you sorry you got caught?” Ever been on one end of that exchange? I’ve been on both sides myself.
It’s impossible to go through life without, at some point, a) hurting others or b) getting hurt by someone. Small debts are easy to erase, minor wrongdoings easy to overlook, and most hurts heal in time, but what happens when a transgression is so consequential that there is no reasonable restitution to match? How can you forgive when forgiveness seems unfathomable?
And how do we know when an apology is authentic and from the heart? Remember that whole “sorry you got caught” thing? Again, I’m guilty of this myself. Our apologies are only genuine when we recognize the harm we’ve done and are willing to make up for them.
In this issue, we speak to John Johnstone, part of the Leq’á:mel Nation and victim of the Sixties Scoop, about his thoughts on the Pope’s recent apology to the Indigenous people of Turtle Island (Canada) for the Catholic Church’s part in the residential school system. Johnstone finds little comfort in the word ‘reconciliation’ if not used in the context of ‘truth.’ “If we don’t know the truth, if we’re not sharing the truth, if we’re not understanding the truth, if the truth is not part of reconciliation, then we don’t have reconciliation,” says Johnstone.
Johnstone seeks a rightness of relationship between all people, guided by a Creator bigger than any one culture’s understanding of him. For John, rightness of relationship—reconciliation—only happens when we pray with love in our hearts.
On page 14, we highlight Selkirk Community Church (SCC), which has seen its new church building become a meeting place for Indigenous neighbours, a community “geared toward truth-telling,” says SCC pastor Ryan Galashan. “It’s not something we could have ever figured out on our own or planned, but it was cool that in our sanctuary, we would have this group working on a project like this.”
The road to truth and reconciliation in Canada is one we’ve only begun to journey. We have far to go. Where are you on this journey, and what can you do to have rightness of relationship with your neighbours? I believe the voices we need to hear most now are those of Turtle Island’s First Peoples. May we have the posture to receive them, the ears to listen to them, minds to understand them and the hearts to love them.
Carson Samson, Communications Director