Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

The F Word

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of attending the United States premier of the Truth in Translation project at Southern Methodist University.  It was a truly powerful experience.  From the back of the program:

“We live in a world that is increasingly driven by fear and vengeance.  This is incompatible with the notion of forgiveness.  Yet we cannot survive unless emotional and perceptual reconciliation can be made.  This story is not just about one country, one context, one event, but about all of us right now, everywhere we look.” – Michael Lessac, Artistic Director, Truth in Translation

At intermission, instead of the usual get-me-to-the-bathroom buzz, the audience sat silent, mesmerized, unwilling to break the spell binding us the them, the actors portraying the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission translators who are telling the stories of both the victims and the perpetrators of the crimes of apartheid in first person.  I sit wondering how.  How does one get to forgiveness after such atrocity? 

Finally standing, I walk to the theater lobby.  The mood reminds me of a post-Lenten service, people walking, not talking, carefully avoiding eye contact.  Large banners, courtesy of The Forgiveness Project, hang from ceiling to floor, pictures of people, their stories underneath, each sharing their personal paths to forgiveness.  

Reading their stories, I’m overwhelmed with both gratitude and shame.  Gratitude for being spared the heart-breaks these people have endured and shame for holding onto the angers and grudges I hold.  They were so large yesterday, but today, in the face of those who’ve made the decision to move past hate and anger, choosing forgiveness and reconciliation instead, they feel small, petty, stupid. 

And in the middle, was this banner.  It helped me get a better grasp around the question of how.

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele


September 10, 2007 - Posted by | Another F-ing Thought for the Day, Heart, Inspiration, Inspirational, Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Music, Theater


  1. Wow, thanks for sharing that. Sounds like one of those experiences that occur too rarely, but inspire some serious self-evaluation. We should all remember to forgive more.

    Comment by Chris | September 10, 2007 | Reply

  2. Great post, M!
    I do so love Desmond Tutu. We need more like him in the world.

    Comment by Candace | September 10, 2007 | Reply

  3. The way to get over such atrocities is to “gather the women”. Female energy operates using compromise and forgiveness as its tenets.

    Comment by spicetalk | September 12, 2007 | Reply

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