Reflecting on Injustices, Great and Small
It was hard enough during more ‘normal’ times to stop and think about why we were put on this earth. Between pandemic fears, COVID-19 fueled economic hardships and the horrible current events stemming from racial injustice, many of us are sorely challenged to keep our own lives from unraveling. Yet, it’s so important to take the time to reflect – daily, if possible – on what we say, how we say it and how each person will remember those words or actions.
Injustice comes in many forms, great and small. The media has recently been filled with disturbing video of grave injustice. Many more injustices are small. We may not realize that we have done an injustice to someone until many years later. We may forget about it only remember it years later, triggered by something we saw or heard. It's a very hard thing to admit that we do such things, and it can be too easy to lay blame for our actions at the altar of ‘that thing’ or ‘that person’. Add up enough small injustices and it’s like ‘death by a thousand cuts’.
Something that came to my mind lately is an injustice that I served to one of my children. He had written an essay and wanted me to read it because he was quite proud of it. I was in a hurry to get to work and as a single parent had many things on my mind. As I started reading it and saw misspelled words, my focus shifted from the content of the paper to the spelling flaws. I said unkind words to him about his spelling and handed the paper back. He never asked me to read another thing he had written.
Someday I’ll summon the courage to ask him if he remembers that episode. I know this might seem like such a small thing, in retrospect, but I'm sure it hurt him deeply as he was a very sensitive young man. There are much greater and more damaging injustices that we have all probably done. However, this recent memory has pushed me to become more actively present and aware of the things that I do or say. Each new day that dawns can be another chance to ‘get it right’ today and regret less later. I can’t change the past. I can change tomorrow.