Africa removes any last illusion of control in your life. The fact that one can arise in the morning, make and drink their coffee in a matter of 15 minutes, get in a car and arrive at the office in 20 minutes (or an hour for real city dwellers…) and successfully go to the bank, type AND print the report for your boss, and pick up groceries before 5 pm, gives Westerners the false sense of having control over their lives. Here, my notion of productivity has come to the belief that sending one e-mail and connecting with a contact on the phone to set up a future in-person meeting constitutes a successful day. I cannot pretend to control my activities here.
Which is a more honest way of living anyway. When we think we are in-control, things like a job loss, or relationship upheaval, or violent storm completely cripple our lives. Knowing I cannot do anything about what just happened to me makes whatever it was a little easier to bear.
This is also a necessary attitude in dealing with people around us.
All I can control is my response. All I can control is what I say. I cannot control how the other person receives it. And I cannot control what the other person will do following said reception. The best I can do is say what is on my heart and then react according to the reaction.
After 7 months, what do I think about the depth and honesty of reconciliation here? I have my theories, but I cannot honestly know. That is between the individuals involved. And in a polite society that would rather look pretty and bury the anger, perfection is perhaps not here yet.
However, honest reconciliation is all about the individual heart. Carrying the guilt or anger towards another can dominate our every thought, and dictate our emotions. Offering honest forgiveness or repentance primarily serves to set our hearts free. Emmanuel Kolini, Archbishop of Rwanda, Retired, said that reconciliation is necessary. And an element of that does involve a superficial getting along with one another so that life can continue. Alternatively, true healing comes from setting your own hear free. Kolini said it does not matter if the other party does not want to accept your heart. As long as you lay it bear and state what is honestly happening, then you’ve set yourself free. It is up to the other to choose that freedom as well.
But we cannot control the other. We can only control ourselves.
So is it deep, and honest and true here? For some certainly. And for others, it is up to them to take the offering. But no one else can force that.