A Gang of Seven

 Pointing the Way


 Two Movements

 Three Sacraments

 Facets of Vital Engagement

 Vital Engagement:
            Life Blood of Trust

 Steps Towards Trust

 Missed Steps

 Unseen Options  

 Justice in Relationships


If I Want You to Treat Me Justly...

       Justice can best be grasped through the prism of three generations. If I want you to treat me justly, I must imagine you and your parents and your grandparents in context. If we want to treat each other justly, we must imagine each other in context - you and your parents and grandparents; and me with mine. I must battle as hard for me to “get” your story as I battle for you to “get” my story.


       If you are not engaged with me and my story, I may hesitate when you want me to consider you. I may be tired or preoccupied or depleted or I may see you as one more person wanting something from me. Chances are I will find ways to avoid really engaging you.
"You can’t get blood out of a turnip"

       I was thinking about the years I held a grudge against my mother. She abandoned me when I was a child. That was my context, my only context. I internalized the context into which I was born and raised, for good and for bad. I acted on what I knew, and tested the world from that reality.

    When I told my therapist that I’d like to bring my mother into therapy, she said, “You can’t get blood out of a turnip.” How does she know that my mother is a turnip? She doesn’t know my mother. It was a wakeup call. I want to talk to my mother. I reach out to her and she reaches back.

       “My mother is 98 years old. Her father died when she was seven. “I don’t think I ever got over his death,” she said matter-of-factly. I had never heard her say that before. Her words burned deeply into my heart. I was living and growing up with that loss and I didn’t know about it. They are part of my context now. I wanted our adult sons to know about my mother’s lifelong grief over her father’s death, and about how her mother held her at a distance.

      It seems so simple now. I expand my context to include the realities and consequences of my mother’s childhood - by her own account, not by mine. I share her story with my family. I learn that judging is a prison of our own making and forestalls justice in relationships.

       I learn to see that vital engagement and dialogue are appeals for justice; that trust is a consequence of doing justice; that justice is served by restoring trust.

 The Quest for Justice is a Given

Justice Begins at Home

If I Want You to Treat Me Justly...

Know and Be Known